College of Applied Sciences and Arts
Why did you choose your major?
Mother Teresa once said, “One of the greatest diseases is to be nobody to anybody.” This message instilled in me the desire to play an important part in people’s lives. Health Science proved to be the perfect fit-it provided me the knowledge, experience, and skills to implement that message. Through Health Science I was able to touch so many lives of people that I could never have imagined through our collaborative work at the McKinley community and Project SHINE. What also impressed me most was the camaraderie between the Health Science faculty and colleagues. Knowing that we all share the same passion in giving back to the community motivated me to take the necessary actions to actually become somebody to someone. As a Health Science Alumnus, I promise to constantly carry out the department’s mission and to share to other people our devotion to the community’s health.
What does receiving this particular award mean to you?
It is such an honor to receive this prestigious award. It definitely means a whole lot to me and my family for it embodies not only my hard work, but also my parents’ as well. Both my parents have made difficult sacrifices in their lives in order for me to get through college. They have taught me the value of determination and humility, which helped me shape who I am today. Therefore, this award is the greatest expression of my love and appreciation for them.
Who has been instrumental in your life and/or who has contributed to your academic
In relation to my previous answer, my parents have been very instrumental in my life. I have learned a great deal from their recounted stories of life experiences and past mistakes. With their guidance and support, I was able to make good decisions in my life. They constantly remind me that I am bound to do something great in life, and I always keep that in mind. That is what keeps me motivated to excel in everything I do. I am extremely grateful to have such amazing parents. They have done so much for me, and all I want to do is make them proud.
Did you overcome any hardships or adversities during your life, that has helped shape
who you are today? And if so, could you please briefly elaborate?
Every person has at some point experienced an uphill battle that is life changing. In my experience, two major events that shaped me who I am today were the September 11 attacks and when my mother was diagnosed with Lupus. My family’s financial woes that arose from September 11 and the emotional toll from my mom’s diagnosis changed my life completely. I knew in my heart that I had to mature at an early age to completely understand the hardships that affected my life. With that realization, I developed the inspiration to make my family thrive financially and to help find a cure for Lupus. Those aspirations helped me learn to be hardworking and optimistic.
What would you say to other students to encourage or inspire them to attain academic
Like what my parents always tell me, everyone is destined to do something great in their lives. Continue to follow your passion and never give up despite the adversities of life. There are no words to explain how amazing it is to attain academic excellence and have it recognized. It is an accomplishment that will truly stand the test of time.
Where would you like to be in 5-10 years?
My career goal is to become a physician assistant. I will be finishing up some prerequisite classes this year and with enough clinical experience, I hope to be able to apply to UC Davis or Stanford’s physician assistant program. In addition to that, I plan to continue my efforts in helping out the lupus patient community. Thanks to Health Science, I was introduced to Lupus Foundation of Northern California, a great nonprofit organization that strives to make the lives of lupus patients better through education, greater public awareness, and support towards lupus research.
A few words from her nominating professor:
Isabelle has made a remarkable contribution to SJSU and our community while, at the same time, earning the distinction of President's Scholar. As a Health Science student, Isabelle began volunteering through Project SHINE to fulfill a service-learning opportunity. But within a very short time, Project SHINE became Isabelle's passion. Since that first experience three years ago, Isabelle has provided steady service and increasing leadership to this unique community-based initiative, which pairs college students with immigrant elders preparing for citizenship. For the past two years, Isabelle has served as a volunteer project coordinator, which has literally kept the program alive and thriving during very difficult fiscal times. During this same period, Isabelle volunteered each week with the girls health club at McKinley Elementary - Las Flores de la Salud. There, as in Project SHINE, the girls adore her, looking to Isabelle as friend, role model, and essential link to their own futures at the university. Isabelle's heart and skills combine for "unbounded learning" - in her own life and the lives of all she knows.
-Professor Kathleen Roe