December 16, 2014 - Current Issue
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William Mundo will be the Type of Doctor the World Needs More Of

William Mundo will be the Type of Doctor the World Needs More Of

From a young age, William Mundo knew he wanted to help and heal people. William watched his father administer care and advice to others in his community, believing when he was young that his father was a doctor. It wasn't until William was much older that he discovered his father had not graduated from high school. In addition to always being there to help his neighbors and friends, his father labored hard to provide for his family. His father's training and knowledge in the healing arts came from a dedication to being of service, rather than from a classroom. William describes his father as a hero. He says that now when he looks back on all that his dad sacrificed to make sure his family and community was provided for it solidifies William's drive to become a doctor himself.

William was born in East Los Angeles, but the Mundos moved to Leadville, CO before William can remember. Until coming to the big city to attend CU Denver, Leadville was the only home William had known. William feels great pride and connection to his hometown, and was motivated to find ways to help and protect its residents as a young man. At sixteen he worked as a lifeguard at the local swimming pool, and in his first summer William rescued a boy who was drowning. He remembers the formative experience being both a rush and a revelation about how it feels to save a life. Because he and his friends liked to hike and be outdoors, and William felt it was important his friends could rely on him in an emergency situation, William received Wilderness First Aid Certification Training at seventeen. Taking it a step further, upon turning eighteen William became EMT certified before graduating high school and making the move to Denver.

William remembers it was Karl Remsen, a teacher at Leadville High school and mentor, who brought William on a tour of the CU Denver campus. Remsen also helped him with the complicated process of applying to college (especially daunting to William as the first person in his family to ever apply), and wrote a recommendation letter for him. William credits Remsen with his success, along with his large and supportive family (both in the US and in Mexico), and the faculty and staff he has interacted with in the Educational Opportunities Program and TRiO Student Support Services offices on campus. William pays forward the kindnesses and guidance he has received through over a dozen volunteering and service projects, most recently as leaders of a student team that organized the 2014 Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) Youth Leadership Development Forum. The forum brought over 700 high school students from around the state of Colorado to the Auraria campus to receive advice on how they can best plan and prepare for college.

After receiving his medical training, William plans to return to Leadville to help his underserved hometown, as well as travel the world with Doctors without Borders. He answered more questions about his plans, his past, and the support he has received from scholarships:

Why did you choose CU Denver?
I decided to choose CU Denver because of the geographical location of the campus. Being downtown always inspires me to be more a part of my Denver and campus community. Another reason I decided to choose CU Denver is because of the association with Anschutz Medical Campus. I want to go to medical school in the near future and I thought I would have an advantage getting into Anschutz if I am an undergraduate student at the downtown campus. The unique relationship between the downtown campus and the medical campus was the most appealing reason for me to come to CU Denver.

What do you study and why it's of interest it you?
I am a pre-medical student double majoring in Public Health and Ethnic Studies. I am also currently considering picking up a Biology minor to make myself a better candidate for medical school. I decided to choose my double major because I am interested in the intersections of health and race/ethnicity identity and how one influences the other. As a first generation Mexican student, I have seen firsthand how one's cultural background can predict negative health outcomes. I am interested in breaking down cultural barriers between patients and providers in order to provide truly culturally responsive care.

What are your goals for the future?
My goals for my future are to graduate from CU Denver and continue my education at Anschutz (the University of Colorado Medical School). I want to pursue another double degree when I am in graduate school, obtaining a medical degree and also a master's in public health. Eventually, after I become Dr. Mundo, I want to work for Doctors Without Borders and provide primary health care to underserved communities all around the world. The education I'm receiving now and plan to receive in the future will prepare me to go to different parts of the world to work with diverse and marginalized communities. I want to focus on Latin American countries because that is where my entire family is from.

How are the scholarships you received helping you to achieve your goals?
During my time here at CU Denver, I have had the honor to be chosen to be a Latin American Educational Foundation Scholar, CU Denver Alumni Scholar, Dean's List Scholar, Cecil Glenn Scholar and a Graham Family Scholar. These scholarships have made such a direct and indirect impact on my life and my entire family. Without these awards I would not be where I am now. These scholarships are helping me reach my goals because navigating the educational system can be very difficult, especially as a Latino student. I am the first in my family to ever be born in the US, the first to graduate from high school, and will be the first to pursue a career that requires an expensive education. The funds I've received are not only helping me reach my goals of becoming a medical doctor, but are also allowing me to help others reach their own goals. I have been able to establish a legacy within my family and have created a path for my younger family members and other Latino's who dream of going to college to follow. These scholarships have helped me prove that I am more than a statistic.

What does philanthropy, or giving back, mean to you?
Giving back to me is not helping or fixing, it simply means serving with a purpose. When serving others with a purpose becomes a life value and priority the world becomes a better place. In order to provide the desired benefit to humanity we have to carefully examine power dynamics when working with any type of community. There has to be a sense of awareness of the differences between intentions and impacts.

If you could tell people one thing about CU Denver what would it be?
One thing that people do not know about CU Denver is the amount of opportunities that are all around us. CU Denver has been able to bring these opportunities together and has opened multiple doors for me. Some people also don't know that our campus has the most diverse population in Colorado. The entire campus climate is filled with positive life changing experiences and memories that will live forever.

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