ESSAY PROMPT: Please compose a 500-600 word essay that addresses each of the following questions: Reflecting on your participation in the 20/20 Leadership program, how have you grown as a leader? How will you use what you’ve learned in the future? What does “leaving a legacy” mean to you?

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Growing up in a household of four children, a hardworking mother, and an absent father, leadership wasn’t something defined by the dictionary definition, it was defined by action. As one of the oldest siblings, I found myself falling into the honorable role of a leader, A role that my mother could not fill when she worked 12-hour shifts to sustain our family. I have always been there to take care of those who need me. That is what a leader does; at least, that is what my mother taught me. She showed me leadership skills of courage, determination, and empathy. She never had the opportunity to graduate from high school, yet she rose above. 

She overcame these immense obstacles, including becoming a mother as a teenager and immigrating to the U.S. with a toddler and no money. Despite her fears of abuse and deportation, she continued to make the best of her situation, showing me what it means to lead by example. Growing up I witnessed my immigrant mother navigate the healthcare system with limited resources. This was a turning point for me. It instilled in me a determination to become a leader in my field of choice – healthcare. Pursuing a healthcare career may be daunting given its expenses, lack of diversity, and demanding workload, but these challenges only fueled my determination. Throughout my high school years, I have maintained excellent grades, joined sports and extracurriculars including 20/20 leadership on top of balancing a part-time job.

Recently I took it upon myself to connect with a local Kansas City doctor and shadowed her at Children’s Mercy Hospital in the Emergency Pediatric Unit. Through this experience, I met a separate Hispanic doctor who expressed to me the critical need for more Spanish speakers in the medical field, particularly in the ER unit. Witnessing the language barrier firsthand and its impact on patient care reinforced my commitment to breaking down barriers and advocating for healthcare access for all. My diverse background and experiences serve as a strength that I will leverage to lead and advocate for my future patients. Rooted in empathy, courage, and determination taught through my experiences, I know my leadership skills to not only guide myself but also to uplift those around me.

I am confident in the knowledge and skills I bring and am driven by the need to transform the world of pediatric healthcare to better serve minority communities. For me, leaving a legacy means making a long-lasting impact on the lives of those who come after me. It means ensuring that every individual, regardless of background or circumstance, has access to quality healthcare. My commitment to my community and my humble upbringing drives me to leave a legacy of empathy, inclusivity, and accessibility to the medical field for many generations to come. With my dedication to my studies, my passion for healthcare, and my drive to set the example through leadership, I am determined to make a difference in the lives of my future patients and leave a lasting impact on the world around me.