Gabriela Hernandez: ‘Give Back’

What extracurricular activities have you been involved with during your time in school? How has it made an impact on your life and in the community?

Throughout my time at Barry University, I have been given an opportunity to participate in community service events including the annual Special Olympics hosted by ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex and different homeless clinics in Miami. As first and second-year students at Barry, we are not given much exposure to patient care and interaction. However, volunteering has allowed me to significantly improve my clinical skills through hands-on experiences while gaining new perspectives and personal growth. More importantly, volunteering has granted me a chance to give back to those who are less fortunate and make personal connections with many people. For instance, I recently had an opportunity to go on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic. There, I was able to apply what I have learned during volunteering and even teach my fellow colleagues. This experience has been the most heartwarming and educating thus far. This mission trip showed me how much of an impact we, as students, can have on underprivileged lives. Having families constantly thank and tell us how grateful they were, are memories I will always cherish. This mission trip persuaded me to become President of the Medical Missions club at Barry University. My plan is to organize future mission trips to different countries to give other students the same opportunity to help those less fortunate while learning what it means to be a physician. 

This mission trip persuaded me to become President of the Medical Missions club at Barry University.

Aside from volunteering, I have also conducted research as part of ACFAS with my fellow club members and had the privilege to present the work at the annual ACFAS conference. This opportunity taught me the dedication and organization it takes to work with others and put together a poster and abstract in a timely manner. It has given me ample practice reading, interpreting research articles, and putting them together to write our own research article. Attending the ACFAS conference turned out to be a huge network opportunity. I was able to interact with many podiatry students from different schools and also physicians across the nation. 

Overall, these experiences have shaped the podiatry student I am today by motivating me to be involved with my school and community as much as possible. I strongly believe that all these opportunities have impacted me and others in a positive manner. They have shown me how to be dedicated and passionate about my career outside of my academics.  I have learned from communication and leadership skills which I plan to use to help and inspire others and build their love for podiatry. 

Gabriela Hernandez

Barry University School of Podiatric Medicine, Class of 2022