Class of 2021, University of California, San Francisco School of Medicine

Juan Vasquez Vasquez has beaten many odds. He made it to the US from El Salvador with his family when he was nine years old. He overcame poverty and the challenges of learning a new language and culture to graduate as one of the top students in his high school class. He enrolled at UC Berkeley as an undocumented student before the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, struggling every semester to find a way to finance his education without federal assistance, an ability to work legally, or eligibility for almost all scholarships.

After DACA passed, things got a little easier; at least he could get a Social Security number (which gave him access to more scholarships) and work legally. But after graduation from college, he was faced with his greatest challenge so far—finding a way to pay for medical school. This is a sometimes insurmountable obstacle for many students from economically-disadvantaged backgrounds, even when they are US citizens. Juan was determined to become a doctor—and to serve communities, like the ones he comes from, who desperately need doctors who are committed to giving them the high-quality care they deserve. His scholarship from NMF was key. We are so proud and excited that Juan is less than a year from realizing his dream of graduating from medical school! He is a great example of why we do the work that we do.