Carolina always knew she wanted to one day become a veterinarian, but did not know the way she would get there. “Deciding to attend Parkland College was one of the best decisions I made because not only did it provide an affordable and great education, but also a sense of community and support,” Carolina said.
Carolina enrolled in the Parkland Pathway to Illinois program in which qualified students begin college at Parkland and seamlessly transfer to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. While preparing to transfer, participating students are able to integrate their experience as full-time Parkland College students while utilizing resources and classes at Illinois.
While at Parkland, Carolina was vice president of the Parkland Student Government and focused on creating events and activities to enhance the student experience such as originating the first Valentine’s Day dance and finding a food provider for the opening of the Student Union. She was also a mentor for the Parkland Academy Team where she helped guide and provide extra support for Hispanic students in their first year of college and was a member of the college’s Grievance Committee that provided students with the chance for their appeals to be heard with an unbiased view.
After Parkland, she received a fellowship with National Science Foundation and conducted, or was part of, research projects every semester at the University of Illinois. She graduated from the UI in 2015 with a Bachelor’s in Animal Sciences and minor Chemistry under the James Scholar Program (the undergraduate honors program). And this fall, Carolina will begin her second year of her doctorate in Veterinary Medicine at the University of Illinois.
Her most memorable moment at Parkland is “of the people I met throughout Parkland, two that made a large impact on me was my counselor, that always made sure I was on the right track that would lead me toward veterinary school, and my chemistry professor, whose class was the reason I decided to pursue a minor in Chemistry at the University of Illinois. The professors, classmates, and counselor I had were the main factors I decided to find a way to give back to the Parkland community.