ERICA CHAVEZ SANTOS, a junior in biology at the UW, has found the saying is really true: “There’s a place for everyone at the UW.” Santos hails from Pateros, a tiny town in Okanogan County. Her parents have worked in agriculture and although unable to attend college themselves, have always supported her desire to pursue higher education.
The large, urban campus of the UW provided quite a contrast to Santos’ hometown. She has excelled, however, because she has taken advantage of the many programs the UW offers to help students succeed and find their place among a community of confident and engaged learners and leaders. Santos has been a College Assistance Migrant Program (CAMP) Scholar. CAMP assists students from migrant and seasonal farm worker backgrounds in their first year of college with academic, personal and financial support. She also served as a CAMP mentor to help other students in a similar situation.
As an intern with UW’s DO-IT program, Santos has helped high school students with disabilities prepare for college. She is also involved in programs affiliated with the Office of Minority Affairs and Diversity focused on STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics). End result? A student who is connected, engaged and part of a thriving community. Santos hopes to go on to medical school and would like to return to her hometown to provide equal opportunities for all people who need health care.