Student Spotlight: Lucero Cordero
Undergraduate: Franklin and Marshall College
Future Health Profession: Developmental Pediatric Medicine
Lucero Cordero’s dream of becoming a developmental pediatrician was born out of necessity and compassion. Growing up as the child of immigrants, Cordero had to take the driver’s seat when it came to household chores and child-rearing responsibilities. Their parents worked multiple jobs and lacked the financial and social capital for extra help, so, as the eldest-born daughter, Cordero became a second mom in the family. They were at the developmental pediatrician’s office when younger brother Leo was diagnosed with Autism and continued to be there with him through every step of his developmental progress. “Gratefully, I learned so much about love and dedication from being his second mom, but I did not grasp the critical skill of prioritizing my needs,” said Cordero. “The resilience and adaptability I learned from being a parentified child helped me survive as a young person, and as an adult, these skills have developed my empathy and motivation to become a culturally competent bilingual developmental pediatrician.”
But after years of prioritizing their brother’s needs over their own, Cordero’s sleep and schoolwork had suffered. After enduring two failed attempts of applying to medical school, their dream began to feel unattainable. Realizing they needed help, Cordero applied to the UC Davis Health Professions Post-Baccalaureate Program and received the comprehensive support and boost in confidence they needed to succeed. Since completing the program, Cordero has received numerous acceptances to medical school and is currently working as an EMT in Los Angeles County.
What has the med school application process been like since completing the program?
So far, I have received 15 interviews and nine acceptances, which has astonished me! I am applying for the third time, and I did not expect this much success. The application process went smoothly with the help of my advisor, Bryelle. She was critical in proofreading everything I wrote to quell my anxieties, while helping me build confidence. I believe that my success in this cycle is due to the confidence that the UC Davis post-baccalaureate program helped me cultivate.
Why did you choose UC Davis for your post-bac studies?
I chose UC Davis because I got the impression that the advisors genuinely cared for their students. I also appreciated that UC Davis had a designated MCAT advisor providing MCAT preparation for the entire program. Other programs offered third-party MCAT tutors for six months. The UC Davis Post-Baccalaureate Program offers comprehensive advising in all areas of the medical school application process and seminars that prepare you for every step of the process.
What were your goals going into the program and how did our program help you achieve them?
My main goals were to increase my MCAT score and GPA, while receiving guidance on my writing. The UC Davis Post-Bac Program provided MCAT, study skills and writing seminars throughout the program. The longitudinal implementation of these skills was crucial in improving my grades and test scores.
What did you find most valuable about the program?
The most valuable aspect of the program was the advising team. They genuinely cared about getting me into medical school as much as I wanted to get into medical school. The team at UC Davis made me feel very comfortable and confident that I could achieve this dream. I am grateful for their expertise and dedication.
Doug, the MCAT advisor, was so dedicated to helping us find unique study schedules that worked for us individually. I felt very comfortable sharing my hardships and asking for help. He was integral in helping me gain confidence after years of test anxiety. Additionally, Bryelle, my advisor, was always there when I needed a pep talk or was anxious about the wording of an email. She cheered me on as I successfully navigated through the application process. The advisors always went above and beyond to help us succeed.
What was your cohort experience like?
I was extremely grateful to be in a diverse and motivated cohort. It was with my peers' help that I could excel academically. There was always a cohort member in your class, and everyone was enthusiastic about studying together. I have established lasting connections with people cheering me on just as loudly as I am cheering them on. The collaborative environment of the UC Davis Post-Baccalaureate Program made it my favorite academic experience thus far.
How did your experience in the EMT Track help you?
I chose the EMT Track because I did not have emergency medical experience and never envisioned myself working in this field. I saw this as an opportunity to challenge myself and learn new skills. With the help of my cohort and EMT instructors, I honed my communication and clinical skills, which I look forward to using as a physician.
This experience taught me the importance of compassion and taking the extra step to bring comfort amid chaos. This became especially evident while doing clinical rotations at the UC Davis Medical Center, where I had the chance to use my Spanish skills to fully explain situations to patients in their native language. I continue to use these skills as an EMT in Southern California.
Would you recommend the UC Davis Post-Bac?
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I wholeheartedly recommend the UC Davis Post-Baccalaureate Program! This program opened an opportunity I did not expect to have—becoming an anatomy lab aide. I got to spend more time with challenging material and teach with real prosections. The Clinical Track equipped me with the knowledge, practical skills and clinical experience to become a certified EMT. I greatly benefitted from the program-long MCAT preparation with a dedicated MCAT advisor and the program-long seminars prepping us for the application cycle.
What advice would you give to others considering pursuing a health profession post-bac?
Find a program where you feel the advisors care about your journey! My advisors at UC Davis had my back. They provided me with the study skills, academic opportunities and MCAT preparation I needed to be a competitive applicant.
Where do you hope to see yourself in the next 5-10 years?
I see myself working as a bilingual developmental pediatrician in a diverse community. I plan to use my cultural humility and language abilities to make my future patients feel comfortable and heard while going through the most vulnerable moments.