Meet the 8th cohort of the Honors College and HWCOM Early Assurance Program

David Melendez Spotlight

Every year since 2016, sophomores in the FIU Honors College have been given the distinctive opportunity of being considered for guaranteed admission at the FIU Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine (HWCOM). 

This year, five students were accepted into the HWCOM Early Assurance Program. These outstanding scholars have demonstrated their commitment to academic excellence and their passion for changing the face of medicine. 

Meet the 8th cohort of the Honors HWCOM Early Assurance Program:

Kristen Morales

Kristen Morales’s passion led her toward two compelling avenues: orthopedics and endocrinology. The link between sports and medicine has always intrigued her, and orthopedics perfectly synergizes these interests. Having grown up as an athlete, Kristen’s innate curiosity is stoked by the intricate mechanics of the human body, especially when it comes to sports-related injuries. 

 But it doesn’t stop there. Kristen’s personal experiences also fuel Kristen’s journey into the world of medicine. Her sister’s ten-year battle with type 1 diabetes has given Kristen unique insights into the daily challenges faced by those with chronic conditions. This perspective has ignited Kristen’s interest in endocrinology, where she hopes to delve deeper into the complexities of such conditions, striving to make a meaningful difference in the lives of those affected. Kristen is excited about the mentorship that comes with the EAP program and continuing to form bonds with her fellow EAP students.

Danielle Azachi

Danielle Azachi’s path toward a medical career was ignited during her formative years in elementary school when her parents fostered children in their hometown. In the first grade, two children found a loving home in hers. Since that moment, Danielle’s family has extended its care to an additional twelve children. Through years of dedicated listening, guiding, nurturing, and advocating for these children, Danielle discovered a profound calling: to pursue a career that would enable her to leverage and further develop these essential skills. 

Her interest in medicine transcends the ordinary; it encompasses two specific but crucial specialties: surgery and emergency medicine. Danielle is drawn to the notion of being the anchor of calm amidst life’s most turbulent storms. Her aspiration is not just to help but to alleviate the pain of individuals during the most stressful moments they may experience. As she embarks on her medical journey, Danielle eagerly anticipates the opportunities presented by the EAP Program.

Adrian Carbajales

Driven by a lifelong curiosity and a deep-seated desire to make a positive impact, Adrian Carbajales found his inspiration to pursue a medical career. From a young age, the world of medicine piqued his interest, and the more he delved into it, the stronger his connection grew. Through extensive involvement in community service and shadowing experiences, he cultivated a profound love for medicine that solidified his decision to tread this noble path. The prospect of making a meaningful, widespread impact in a field that truly sparked his interest became the driving force behind Adrian’s choice to pursue a medical career.

 Adrian’s journey of exploration led him to various specialties within the field of medicine. Among these, he is particularly drawn to the captivating world of gynecology. This area offers a unique and fulfilling opportunity to impact the lives of women in his community positively. Moreover, it occasionally brings the miracle of new life into the world, an aspect that profoundly resonates with Adrian’s desire to contribute to the well-being of individuals in a meaningful way. With excitement and honor, Adrian looks forward to participating in the EAP Program.

Samantha Lakin

Samantha Lakin’s journey toward a medical career was ignited by a childhood filled with inspiration and, later, a profoundly personal experience. She was deeply influenced by her father’s close relationships with his patients and the heartfelt gratitude they showed him. Witnessing her father’s profound impact on his patients’ lives, Samantha aspired to make a similar difference through the field of medicine.

 The decision to pursue a medical career was firmly solidified during her mother’s battle with cancer. In those challenging times, Samantha became her mother’s primary caregiver, managing medications and dietary restrictions, accompanying her to doctor’s appointments, and working closely with her assigned social worker. During this period, Samantha confronted the often harsh and unpredictable realities of medicine – that sometimes treatments fail, and patients do not survive. However, her mother’s unwavering strength and determination throughout her illness until the end of her life served as a powerful inspiration for Samantha. She resolved to enter the field of medicine with a relentless commitment to stand beside her patients in their battles and never lose hope. Samantha looks forward to the invaluable mentorship that will help shape her into a great physician, providing her with the guidance and insights to fuel her medical journey.

Daniel Dahoah

Daniel Dahoah envisions a future in medicine that transcends the traditional doctor-patient relationship. She recognizes that access to healthcare in the United States often depends on one’s zip code, a disparity that extends to socioeconomic status and the availability of medical resources. In many communities, the scarcity of hospitals, primary care physicians, and urgent care centers creates a significant barrier to healthcare access. Daniel believes that these inequities must be addressed to ensure that every individual, regardless of their location, can receive the quality care they deserve.

 As a future medical professional, Daniel is committed to being a part of the change that makes healthcare accessible to everyone, everywhere. She acknowledges the challenges but remains resolute in her belief that collaboration among future physicians is key to finding solutions. Her vision is one where healthcare disparities are minimized, and equitable access to medical services becomes a reality. The aspect of the EAP program that she is most excited about is the mentorship and guidance that this program offers, which will be instrumental in shaping her path throughout her undergraduate education as she progresses toward medical school. Daniel Dahoah’s future in medicine is driven by a commitment to address healthcare disparities and a keen anticipation of the growth and connections the EAP Program will bring to her educational journey.

As these students embark on their medical journeys, they carry the legacy of FIU’s Honors College and the College of Medicine’s commitment to enriching the next generation of healthcare leaders. Their accomplishment inspires all students and is a testament to the boundless opportunities at the FIU Honors College.