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Mike Hauser Academy Success Story: Juana Lopez
Published Thursday, January 30, 2020 2:00 pm

“You must have confidence in your competence.” – Elijah Cummings

Inspiring students is at the heart of the Mike Hauser Academy experience. Inspiring the vision of their future-selves in a STEM career; inspiring the enthusiasm for technological advances that STEM-related work produces; inspiring the confidence in their abilities.

But for Juana Lopez, and many students like her, that confidence wasn’t easy to come by. Moving to the United States from El Salvador at age 5, she began her educational journey at a disadvantage: neither she nor her parents spoke English and her parents had no formal education. “Not having anyone to help me with homework was super tough,” says Juana. “I had to go through first grade twice and I didn’t really feel like I was good in school.”

But those feelings changed the summer before her freshman year of high school when she participated in the Mike Hauser Academy. “The Academy opened my eyes, and that summer I fell in love with science and math and how it challenged me,” she says. “One of my favorite parts of the Academy was seeing the different companies and jobs, especially at Endologix and Medtronic. I really enjoyed talking to the employees, the way they were so passionate about what they did.”

The Academy experience inspired a new-found confidence in Juana. “It changed the way I saw myself,” she says. At Roseland Collegiate Prep, she achieved academic success in math and science, which led to her acceptance in the five-week Stanford Medical Youth Science Program between her Sophomore and Junior year. For the past two years, she’s also been a student mentor at the Mike Hauser Academy, inspiring students with her story, encouraging their curiosity and nurturing their confidence in their abilities and interests.

In the fall of 2019, Juana became the first in her family to attend college. Currently enrolled at Santa Rosa Junior College, she has her near-term sights set on transferring to a University of California, with the ultimate goal of attending medical school.

“My dream career is to be a family medicine physician, to shift the healthcare system by decreasing language barriers and give back to those families who suffer from health disparities,” says Juana. “My father has a chronic illness, and I remember being constantly in and out of the hospital with him. The language barrier made it difficult for him and the doctor to communicate. From that moment, I knew I wanted to be the change.”

We’re excited to see Juana’s accomplishments and can’t wait to see her impact in the future.

Our community’s success is inextricably linked to workers’ skills, and the Mike Hauser Academy is one means for the Chamber to directly and dramatically improve the skills of our future workforce. We thank the numerous sponsors, partners and businesses hosts that contributed to increasing academic achievement, inspiring students to pursue their dreams, and investing in our future through the Mike Hauser Academy.

If your business is in the STEM fields and would like to host a class in 2020, take a look at the partner brochure [PDF] and please let us know. For information about hosting or donating to the Mike Hauser Academy, please contact Ananda Sweet at (707) 636-3662.

This Success Story is excerpted from the 2019 Mike Hauser Academy Program Report. The full report will be released in early February.


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