Guest Author: Sergio Gonzalez 

I attended Loyola University of Chicago and studied biology and literature, graduating in 2015. From Loyola, I went on to pursue biomedical studies at Lewis University. I graduated in May of 2018 as an honorary member of the biology honors program, Tri Beta. I was the first person in my family to receive a college degree.

Given my research experiences in the biology department, I was hired after graduation as a research associate at Valent Biosciences Research Institute, a subsidiary of Sumitomo Chemical. I am currently applying to doctoral programs, following in the footsteps of my own Give Back mentor, Noah Birch M.D./PhD.

Being chosen as a recipient of Give Something Back has irreversibly and fundamentally altered the trajectory of my personal and intellectual formation as a person of the world dedicated to service and learning. More than anything, this privilege means that I am indebted to give to the world the best version of myself because I have been graced with the chance at an education and a better life through the Give Back.

This scholarship has set me apart from my peers, instilling in me a sense of true purpose. I was able to walk through life with a wondrous affirmation that there’s enough luck to be had in this world so that a first-generation college kid like myself could win a full ride scholarship at the shy age of 13. No matter what circumstances life may bring my way in the future, I will never be able to say that I never caught a break in life. Through this program, I have a renewed, positive outlook on life.

When I was given the opportunity to mentor for Give Back, the joy I felt was reminiscent of when I was awarded my scholarship. It was a turning point for me, as I had reached a stage where I knew I had made great strides in life that I could share with others as they pursue their education. Giving back is at the core of what this organization represents, and it’s a value that’s integral to all of us who have been fortunate to be a part of it.

In time, I plan to invest in Give Back’s initiatives. I hope to pay forward all that Mr. Carr has contributed to my formation as a person with a college education and a profession I am passionate about. I still have schooling left in my future, but when I am finished with my doctorate program, I will begin this goal of paying forward my great gift. And of course, I will continue mentoring students and watching them become extraordinary people in whichever profession they choose.

My greatest advice for new scholars is simple: keep moving forward, always. Walk through life with the magic of knowing that something monumentally good has happened to you and shine audaciously because you’ve been given the great gift of an education. This belief will give you the grit and extra leap in your step when things get tough, or it’s been a late night of studying.

I am gratefully indebted to each and every one of you at Give Something Back.