Carrasco chosen for USA’s DREAM

Published 2:53 am Tuesday, April 16, 2019

Andalusia High School alumna Taran Carrasco was one of 12 students picked for the University of South Alabama Medical School’s Diversity Recruitment and Enrichment for Admission into Medicine Program.

The DREAM program’s major goal is to introduce, expose, and encourage marginalized and underrepresented students to consider careers in medicine. The program consists of an eight-week program for rising undergraduate seniors that focuses on preparation for the Medical College Admissions test.

“Honestly, it was kind of a long shot for me,” Carrasco said. “But I told myself to go for it. They only take 12 people in the state, but if you get accepted into the program then you are matriculated into the medical school at South Alabama, so for me it was worth it.”

The ideal candidate for the DREAM program would be first-generation college students or students who identify as being part of a group that is underrepresented in the medical school and economically or educationally marginalized.

“My dad is Mexican and was born in Mexico, but raised in Texas,” Carrasco said. “So that puts me in the underrepresented minority group.”

Carrasco said that she is looking forward to meeting a new group of people the most.

“I am just really looking forward to being in a community of people that are pursuing the same things as I am,” Carrasco said. “I know that we get a mentor and a lot of advising from the university and that is going to be something that is really beneficial for me. I’m just really looking forward to meeting all of them and being around them for eight weeks this summer.”

She believes that this program is a great opportunity for people in all rural areas in Alabama.

“It is really such an incredible opportunity,” Carrasco said. “I came across it while researching internships and I think that a lot of people don’t even know about this program. When I brought it up to my health advisor she didn’t even know about it. For there to be a program that offers you a spot into their medical school when last year they only accepted 77 students into the school, it is incredible to know that you already have a spot.”

Since the program is an intensive preparatory course for the MCAT, Carrasco feels like she can breathe instead of studying 24/7.

“I have been studying for the MCAT since December,” Carrasco said. “It is going to be really nice that I am going to have an internship that is preparing me for the MCAT, rather than having an internship on top of having to study for the test. I have taken a lot of practice tests and I am over the minimum score that I have to have, but I can always make room for improvement.”

Carrasco said that she has wanted to go into medicine since she was 10 years old.

“I didn’t know why, but going into medicine has always been something that has weighed on my heart,” Carrasco said. “I didn’t know really why I wanted to be a doctor until I got to college and realized that not everyone has that great of healthcare. Even though I am just one person, I want to be that doctor who makes all of their patients feel comfortable no matter what kind of socioeconomic, race or gender that person is. I just want to provide quality healthcare to everyone.”

When Carrasco found out about the news, she was completely shocked.

“I opened the email and my little from my sorority was with me and she started crying,” Carrasco said. “And then I told her that I had to call my mom and then my mom started crying. It was all so crazy I couldn’t even speak. The community in Andalusia has been so supportive as well. I have gotten several texts from people in the community and it means so much to me that I can be so far from home and still feel everybody from back home cheering me on.”

Along with the DREAM program, Carrasco also was on of 14 accepted into the UAB HRPI program, but had to turn it down.

She is currently a junior at the University of Mississippi, double majoring in biochemistry and public policy leadership with a minor in biology with the hopes of becoming a pediatrician.

Carrasco is the daughter of Melinda and Robert Carrasco.