June 27, 2019

Earl Woods Scholars attend Global MindED conference, share key takeaways

In early June, Earl Woods Scholars Michelle Bravo and Cristian Carrasco had an exciting opportunity to attend the Global MindED conference in Denver, Colorado. Committed to creating a diverse talent pipeline through cross-collaboration, the conference united hundreds of educators, entrepreneurs, policymakers and first-generation college students, like Michelle and Cristian. Over three days, the scholars attended numerous panels, keynote presentations and workshops, including a discussion on educational equity featuring TGR Foundation’s Vice President of Programs and Education, Dr. Katherine Bihr. Michelle, a rising senior at The City University of New York’s Lehman College, and Cristian, a rising junior at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) share their takeaways from the conference.

How was your Global MindED experience?

Michelle: The Global MindED conference was the first conference that I have ever attended and didn’t know what to expect as I arrived. I attended sessions in two different tracks, health and K-12 education, which allowed me to identify whether either was something I wanted to continue studying or pursue as a career. Overall, I enjoyed the conference, visiting Denver and meeting other first-generation students and professionals like myself.

Christian: I was excited to attend the conference as it was my first time to ever attend an event of this kind, with many opportunities to network and meet other students. All of the speakers were very motivating and empowering as they shared similar stories and their journeys through college and the challenges they faced.

What sessions did you attend?

Michelle: One of the health track panels I attended was called “Bold and Innovative Strategies for High Price of Healthcare”. In this panel, Dr. Lilia Cervantes, who works at Denver Health in Internal Medicine, created a program to increase diversity in healthcare called the Healthcare Interest Program. The program accepts pre-health undergraduates from Denver Universities including the University of Colorado, Metropolitan State University and Regis University. The panel leader, Dianne Primavera, who is the Lt. Governor of Colorado, works with the Office of Saving People Money on Healthcare. She recently helped pass legislation that stopped surprise billing ”balance billing,” which happens when a patient receives care from a doctor or hospital outside of her insurer’s network.

From the K-12 education track, I attended the panel “Early Childhood from 0-7 Technology, Tools, and Strategies for Low-Income Families and Children”. Although not related to the career I want as a 2-5th-grade teacher, I was surprised to hear how technology has been used to help improve the young years of children.

Christian: The sessions I attended included the health track panel and the education system. The educational system session I attended was geared specifically towards computer science teachers and how their curricula do not adequately prepare students for a career in the field.

In the healthcare panel, they had a physician, policy legislator and insurance consultant lead, in which they described the various pathways that one can take in the healthcare field. Of the many challenges in the healthcare system, mental health was a big issue, due to the fact that it’s still considered a taboo in today’s society and many do not reach out for help in fear of judgment. Furthermore, another issue that was talked about was the high prices of our medications and how the pharmaceutical industry lacks the regulation needed for reasonable prices. 

What did you like about the sessions?

Michelle: When it came to the health track panel, there were not only speakers who were doctors but speakers who were a part of other careers in healthcare that I never thought about.

Christian: I learned a lot from these sessions and became more aware of the flaws that our healthcare and educational systems have and the ways it affects underrepresented individuals.

Global MindED is an organization that equips first-generation college students with the resources needed to be successful in their career paths. Focusing specifically on underrepresented students, the organization gives its scholars mentorship, professional skills and networks via an annual conference in Denver, Colorado.

Through the Earl Woods Scholar Program, students like Christian and Michelle receive holistic support and learning opportunities in the classroom and beyond. For more information on the program visit TGRFoundation.org or contact help@TGRFoundation.org.

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