“ My best advice to other first-generation college students who come from a Hispanic background like me is to never give up. Believe in yourself that you are exactly where you meant to be. ”Madai Perez
College of Dental Medicine-Arizona, 2024
What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
Hispanic Heritage Month means I have an opportunity to celebrate the vibrant and beautiful community I am part of. It allows me to appreciate my Cuban culture while also allowing me to share my culture with those around me.
Discuss your background a little and what made you decide to get into the healthcare profession.
I was born in Havana, Cuba, and migrated to the United States at the age of one and a half. Growing up, I was interested in music, art, and science. At my biannual dental cleaning appointment at age 18, my family dentist asked me about my future career plans. Having known me as his patient for 10 years, he suggested that I should pursue dentistry as a career due to my hobbies, my interest in science, and my dedication to serving others. It was at this time that I began a job as an orthodontics laboratory assistant. This is where my spark for dentistry ignited. I witnessed firsthand how dentistry can change lives and transform smiles. As a future dentist, I look forward to combining my interests in art and science while using my skills acquired at Midwestern University to serve others.
Any advice you'd like to give to other students who come from a similar background?
My best advice to other first-generation college students who come from a Hispanic background like me is to never give up. If you don’t knock, the door will not be opened. If you don’t ask, the answer will always be no. When you encounter a roadblock on your journey, ask yourself: “What would you accomplish if you never gave up?” Keep a calm and collected mindset when coming face to face with adversity. If you can’t find a solution, create it. Believe in yourself that you are exactly where you are meant to be. Hard work, determination, passion, and honesty are all the ingredients you need to succeed in your journey towards becoming a doctor.
Madai Perez is a Class of 2024 College of Dental Medicine-Arizona student on the Glendale Campus.