Education

Saragaro – UConn Center for Career Development

Meet Saragaro, the first graduate with a bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Science in May this year. Below, she shares her experience of navigating her career path within the healthcare arena as a first-generation immigrant and student.

Chelsea Osei: Why did you choose your major or academic discipline?

Sara Gallo: I was originally a chemistry major on Pre-Med trucks. When I was in my second year of college, I realized I wasn’t interested in chemistry. I took a class in Human Development and Family Science (HDFS). In this class you will learn about human development in terms of physical, emotional and mental development. It was really fun, so I changed my major and it worked.

CO: As a first-generation student, did you need to overcome your academic difficulties?

SG: In general, as a college student, I think I have to overcome many academic difficulties, but as a first-generation student, I can’t attend college because my family doesn’t have a mentor. Most of what they can do is to help as much as possible, but it is difficult for families to understand certain aspects. For example, when it came to changing my major and academic difficulties, it was difficult to share my hardships. For my family, the solution is to work hard or study, and sometimes the solution is not that simple. I was good at chemistry in high school, but college was a different story. This made the transition to college difficult to navigate. These were things I had to understand for myself, but it’s helpful to be surrounded by other first-generation students and people who have already experienced the process. We guide each other and understand the university together, so I don’t feel like I’m completely lost.

CO: How did you navigate the changes in your major / career path?

SG: Changing my major was easier than changing my career path. By taking HDFS, I was able to prepare many classes for healthcare, but I was still able to take the health and science classes that I would have taken as a Pre-Med student. rice field. I started learning more about the aspects of health care management that led me to the aspects of public health and policy. It was a little more difficult to change my career. I wanted to be a doctor for the rest of my life. It sounds like a cliché, but it made my parents proud. I didn’t change my mind about becoming a doctor until college, and it wasn’t because of academic difficulties, but the sacrifice I had to make to become a doctor. For me, there were many undergraduate students for four years, medical schools for four years, and residents. You would have sacrificed family, friends, and personal time. Because these are important aspects of my life to me.

CO: What kind of club / extracurricular activities did you participate in? And how did they complement your academic interests?

SG: I started at UConnStamford for the first two years of college. At that campus, I participated in extracurricular activities such as the Black Student Union and the African Student Association. At the Storrs campus, I attended more club meetings and sought to be more sociable and acquainted with people through the program of the African American Cultural Center (AACC). In addition, most of my friends at UConn Stamford have transferred here and we are still close friends. However, I didn’t have much typical experience in college because it was a little difficult because of COVID.

CO: Who supports your success?

SG: I have parents, especially moms, who play a big role in my life. She supported me incredibly and taught me that no matter what I choose to do in my life, I can do anything as long as I make an effort. She is my role model and always reminds me that her hard-working ethics gave me opportunities such as being in college and having experiences she didn’t get. She was supportive, even when I told her I didn’t want to be a doctor anymore. She helped me find a job and tried to make a connection to give me an opportunity.

My friends are also incredibly supportive. I have high school friends and they have always checked in to me, even if we went another way. From my partner to the friends I made in college, they infuse me and make me feel loved and supported. They all do a great job of always reminding me of how far I’ve come, even when I’m discouraged. Sometimes I find myself overwhelmed and not applying for the opportunity. In an era when you can’t believe yourself, I think it’s important to have a strong support system that maximizes your potential.

CO: What future career path are you interested in and how is it tied to your identity / how is it related to your current interests?

SG: I plan to get a master’s degree in public health this fall. I go into health care administration and health policy. I became interested in that path through my HDFS major. I am particularly interested in the racial disparity in health care due to equality and lack of equality in the healthcare system. I wanted to build a career, get a master’s degree, and learn how to help the minority implement better policies and programs that help improve access to healthcare and hospitals. .. I know this can make a difference as well as being passionate about me.

Sarah, thank you for sharing your story with us!Check out the Healthcare and Wellness Career Community to explore resources and information related to the healthcare sector. here..

Saragaro – UConn Center for Career Development

https://career.uconn.edu/blog/2022/06/30/first-gen-student-spotlight-sara-gallo/ Saragaro – UConn Center for Career Development

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