Katrina - Age 27

After returning from Guatemala, Katrina was inspired to pursue a path in medicine. While away, she remained in contact with her advocate David and her mentor, seeking opportunities for medical school. Her high school work in gardens, working in nutrition with senior citizens, her college degree in environmental health and now the internship focusing on childhood malnutrition provided a clear focus for her studies.

Although landing a good score on the MCAT's slowed her journey, she took the time to move to Dallas to establish residency in hopes of in-state tuition at UT Southwestern Medical School, one of the top programs in nutrition. Thanks to the research her advocate network did on her behalf, she learned the educational costs at UT Southwestern Medical School were substantially lower than nearly every private medical school in the U.S, and that the university gave preference to Texas residents. Additionally, her mentor was able to connect her with a few contacts in the program, helping her get a job at the research center working with public school children.

Now at 27, after completing medical school and her residency at UT Southwestern's Center for Human Nutrition, she is wrapping up her doctoral fellowship with the University of Colorado Medical Center in Pediatric Nutrition. Recently, she accepted a position with Children's Hospital Colorado providing clinical services in their newborn division.

Katrina's journey was one supported by a network of advocates, mentors, teachers, medical professionals, peers and her family. In many respects, it was a journey not very different from the small percentage of students today lucky enough to have access to the resources and people to inspire and support a personalized pathway. The new system matched Katrina with opportunities that existed in her community and cultivated the conditions for her to take advantage of other resources that would have been beyond her reach without the coordination from her advocate network. Katrina remains a part of the new system, serving as a mentor for young girls interested in the sciences, matching them with community projects that she learns about as part of her work in Denver.

"The illiterate of the 21st century won't be those who can't read and write but those who can't learn, unlearn and relearn."

Alvin Toffler