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At Florida International University, the Minority Association of Pre-Health Students (MAPS) is seeking to address health disparities by ensuring more minority students pursue careers in the health care field.

Thanks to MAVEN Project’s dedicated volunteers, a dozen FIU students who serve on the MAPS E-Board (executive board) are benefiting from ongoing mentoring.

“I learned a lot from the MAVEN Project mentoring, but the most impactful one would have to be that my story matters,” one student shared. “From the very beginning, the MAVEN Project mentors emphasized how all of us are capable of achieving our career goals and empowered us to tell our story and why we are passionate about medicine. Because of this, I realized that all the struggles and challenges I have faced, only make my story worth sharing, as it can inspire those who are experiencing the same situations. This has kept me going throughout this application cycle and for the rest of my journey.”

Mentors meet with students regularly, both as a group and one-on-one. They cover everything from preparing for medical school applications and addressing imposter syndrome to preparing for interviews and addressing microaggressions. Volunteer mentors are helping to ensure that students are well-prepared for both medical school and their coming careers.

Another student added, “I very much enjoyed having the safe space to talk about my experience and having a mentor that was genuinely determined to see me accomplish my career goal. The monthly meetings and the speakers allowed me to reflect on my pre-medical journey, which was very helpful in completing my application to medical schools. Additionally, my mentor provided guidance and support throughout the application cycle, from motivating me to continue studying for the MCAT to reviewing my personal statement. Overall, I feel very grateful to have been a part of the MAVEN Project mentoring program.”

In its second year, the partnership between MAVEN Project and MAPS is going strong. And it’s benefitting both students and volunteers.

“It’s such an amazing opportunity to help prepare the next generation of medical professionals,” added Dr. Jai Cho, MAVEN Project volunteer physician and MAPS mentor. “It’s especially valuable to support minority students. Though the medical profession has gained ground in educating underrepresented groups, it still isn’t representative of the U.S. racial and ethnic makeup. Working with the students makes me hopeful for the future and I’m learning so much.”



Pictured in the photo from left to right:

Richard Onaghnior (Registered Student Organization Representative), Karam Abilmouna (Community Service Chair), Emily Hernandez (Research and Shadowing Chair), Kristina Morales (Head of PR), Xavier Calvo (Co-President), Anthony Diaz (Internal Affairs Chair), Karina Silva (Treasurer), Sthefany Gomez (Co-President), Gabriela Muse (Secretary), Samantha Blanco-Martinez (Vice President)

Missing from the picture are Marlene Marimon (Student National Medical Association Liaison), Ariana Alvarez Vazquez (Social Media Director), and Genesis Moreno (Historian)

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