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Humans of the U: Melissa Munguia

“My sister has always been my role model, especially because she’s the one who raised me. I didn’t really know what college was when I was in elementary school. That’s not something we talked about. So being in high school and being able to get this scholarship was her dream come true because she was able to help me, her baby sister, get into college.

I just finished my first semester at the University of Utah. Currently, my major is in health and kinesiology. I would like to get into the nuclear medicine technology program.

My interest in science began when I was young. In elementary school, I struggled with speaking English. I am Mexican, so Spanish is my first language. Although I liked English and math, science was what I loved. In high school, I took AP biology and I think that is when my obsession with science started and it was because of my teacher. She was amazing. Biology helped explain a lot of things that I never really knew about. It just made things make sense.

I remember the first time I went to the University of Utah Hospital was when I was 5. I remember being mesmerized by these intelligent people who knew everything about the body and knew how to fix people. Since then, I’ve always wanted to know everything about the human body and that’s what’s driven me to want to become a doctor.

I’m not just interested in treating people, but in understanding why things went wrong in the first place. Part of the reason I want to become a doctor is to help the Mexican community. We have a very large population of people who are Mexican in Utah, and we are still studying how some illnesses affect people from various ethnicities and different backgrounds. Something that drove me is my desire to find out specifically why COVID affected people of color more than it affected other groups. There are so many unanswered questions in this world. I just want to see if I can help answer those questions in any way.”

—Melissa Munguia, 2022-23 recipient of the For Utah Scholarship