Student Spotlight: Jessica Garcia
Hi, my name is Jessica Garcia, and I am a senior in the Bachelor of Health Science program on the Pre-Public Health track here at the University of Florida. After I graduate, I hope to continue my education to obtain a Masters in Public Health – Policy & Management, and a Masters in Health Administration. I hope to combine my passion for public health and my expertise in leadership development to one day become a health administrator of a hospital, health corporation, health education program, or non-profit organization while continuing to educate the future generations of leaders in healthcare, specifically in public health, as a university professor.
Throughout my time at UF, I have held multiple positions with various student organizations and departments on campus that have helped shaped the way for my future studies and overall career path. Previously, I served on the Hispanic Student Association’s Executive Board as the Director for the Member Leadership Program, interned under the President and Operations Team of the Boys & Girls Club of Alachua County, and worked at UF Health College of Dentistry’s Department of Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery as the Oral Medicine Clinic’s Chief Student Assistant. I also have previously volunteered with Shands, the Rural Women’s Health Project, and the Latina Women’s League in order to help those in need of aid in our surrounding Alachua County communities.
Currently, I work for the UF Emerging Pathogens Institute at the Center of Excellence in One Health as a One Health Administrative Research Assistant, act as the Treasurer for the UF Undergraduate Public Health Association, and serve as a Hispanic-Latino Affairs Ambassador under the Department of Multicultural & Diversity Affairs, a Division of Student Affairs here at the University of Florida. It wasn’t until I got involved on campus that I realized my passions for health promotion, wellness, educating and developing future leaders, as well as serving and fighting for underrepresented, marginalized communities, such as the Hispanic-Latinx community.
As the daughter of two Cuban immigrants, the culture, struggles, sacrifices, pride, and narratives of my people have helped teach me many lessons from both their and my past. It has shaped my ever so growing identity today and it also helped set the foundation for my goals and aspirations in the future. In my future career, I hope to foster more multicultural and diversity education in the way organizations approach community-based educational programs and various health interventions, as well as at the university level in healthcare classrooms. I want to ensure that those within the Hispanic-Latinx community, as well as other underrepresented, marginalized communities, not only have equal access to education and medical services, but also have a heard voice and a just choice when it comes to their own personal health and wellness decisions.