2020 graduate returns to walk the graduation stage

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Photo courtesy of Adriana Mares

Adriana Mares is a 2020 graduate walking the stage in May after having earned her master’s degree. Mares was named a top ten senior in 2019, when she graduated with a bachelor’s in biological sciences.

Nicole Lopez, Contributor

With UTEP’s commencement ceremony taking place May 14-15 at the Sun Bowl Stadium, Winter 2020 graduates will be able to participate.

Adriana Mares, 22, who earned a Master’s of Science in Public Health and Biological Sciences in December 2020, is looking forward to walking the stage this may in honor of the success she accomplished throughout her college career.

Mares knows the definition of hard work. As a senior in high school, she was among 14 recipients of the prestigious Terry Foundation Scholarship at UTEP, which awards a full-ride scholarship to Texas high school graduates who demonstrate promise of being future leaders in the state.

“The Terry Foundation Scholarship has really helped me focus on, purely, my education, and these professional development opportunities, such as volunteering, shadowing, and all the organizations that I’m part of,” Mares said. “I’ve been able to really dedicate time to each one of them, because I’m not stressed about how I’m going to be able to pay for my classes, nor are my parents stressed about helping me pay for my classes.”

Mares has spent her college career focusing on attending medical school where she hopes to learn about interventional cardiology and structural and or congenital heart defects.

Mares enjoys learning about the heart, but her passion for this field of medicine goes beyond a simple interest.

“My interest in cardiology originated when I lost both of my grandfathers when I was only one year old,” Mares said. “It makes me wonder how different my life would be with my grandfathers still here, but then again, it inspires me to help children because I don’t want them to lose family members due to cardiovascular disease.”

With Mares’ persistence in pursuing a career in cardiovascular disease, she has been a part of several community organizations where she’s been able to show her dedication to the field.

Mares is an organizer for the American Heart Association Go Red for Women Event, held annually, which aims to bring awareness to women’s heart health. Mares is also a co-leader for the Pulmonary Hypertension Support Group, which brings together patients who have been diagnosed with a complex form of capillary hypertension.

Additionally, Mares is a member of the American College of Cardiology, a medical students leadership group. She is the editor of this group, which has allowed her to advance her writing skills in medicine and learn how to summarize clinical trials. Each of these organizations has presented her with the opportunity to network with cardiologists around the world and medical students who have similar interests as hers.

Mares is also an ambassador for the All of Us research program under the National Institute of Health, which aims to focus on areas like El Paso to ensure they receive medical research.

“My participation in a wide range of organizations, whether that is specifically in cardiology, or something very broad, like the National Institute of Health, have all really contributed to my professional growth because I’ve gained a lot from each one of them,” Mares said. “I have been able to seize every opportunity because my mentors presented them to me.”

Mares finds it important for college students, regardless of the major, to have not just one mentor, but several.

“They can all advise you on different aspects of what you’re going to expect later on in the future as a professional,” Mares said.

Mares is not only a part of various organizations, as she has also taken it upon herself to lead aspiring medical students.

In her first semester at UTEP, she founded the Institute of Cardiology at El Paso, where students can network with cardiologists to learn more about the medical field.

“Knowing that this was possible, I then found really brilliant friends through some of my first classes at UTEP,” Mares said.

Although her college career was filled with accomplishments, it was equally filled with challenges which included balancing an academic and personal life.

“All my experiences have really kept me busy,” Mares said.

Mares gives her thanks to her father, Adrian Mares, her mother, Veronica Mares, and her brother, Emiliano Mares who have been by her side, supporting her throughout her studies.

“I really want to thank my family for their understanding and cooperation with everything,” Mares said.

There were times where Mares had to miss out on family events, but her parents and brother always gave her the kindness, cooperation, and understanding that motivated her to keep going.

Which is why, juggling classes while shadowing doctors and volunteering at hospitals was a task Mares knew she could take.

Mares volunteered in several settings including Hospitals of Providence, University Medical Center, Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, and private clinics.

“Whether you’re doing research or you need to finish this biochemistry exam, it always comes down to putting your absolute best in all of those tasks,” Mares said. “We’re not just college students. Many of us are involved with organizations and we have so many shoes to fill. Whenever I am in those positions, I know I just need to overcome it.”

Now that Mares has completed her Master’s degree, she is looking forward to the future.

Mares has applied to various medical schools and is currently waiting to hear where she will be placed. Some medical schools she could potentially attend include the Paul Foster School of Medicine, Galveston Medical School, Southwestern Medical School, Rio Grande Medical School, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and Stanford University School of Medicine.

“I’m not entirely sure where I’ll be going for medical school, but my future, very soon, will include being an official medical student, which is a position I have been very hungry for,” Mares said. “As the years go by, in medical school, I look forward to where we see patients and where we can put all of our knowledge to the practice.”

Mares looks forward to becoming the professional she has always dreamed of being now that she has earned her Master’s and walking the graduation stage in person is just one step closer.

“This a steppingstone to help me become the most prepared medical student I can possibly be,” Mares said. “I’m not done yet.”

Nicole Lopez may be reached at [email protected]; @nicoleilopez on Twitter.