Scholarship Spotlight: Emma Garcia-Rider ’13 (chemistry, political science), '18 M.D.

Emma '13 (chemistry, political science), '18 M.D., recipient of the Wells Fargo First Generation Scholarship

When you ask Emma Garcia-Rider ’13 (chemistry, political science) what first inspired her to come to the University, she smiles and says, “When my family moved to Reno from Oklahoma when I was a kid, my mom bought a Wolf Pack sweater. Eventually, she gave it to me, and whenever I wore it, I thought, ‘This is where I want to go.’ So it’s always been a dream to come here.”

The dream became a reality for Garcia- Rider in 2006, and she embraced the opportunity to pursue her education. For the first three years of her academic career, she focused on political science, but then she realized her true calling was in medicine. In the end, she pursued a dual major and combined her interests in medicine, chemistry and policy in her honors thesis, which analyzed the constitutionality of physician-assisted suicide.

“The University was a great place where I was able to grow a lot,” she says. “Personally and academically. The professors I worked with were passionate and interested in helping students get to the next level.”

For Garcia-Rider, the next level after graduation was the University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine. Garcia-Rider cites a six-month clerkship with rural doctors in Elko as honing her career goals.

“Ultimately, I would like to practice psychiatry in rural Nevada,” she says. “There is such a great need in rural areas for quality care, and there is a lot of work to be done on the legislative level. I hope to support grass roots eff orts to effect change that allows more Nevadans to receive the care they need. And that brings together my interests both in medicine and political science.”

Well on her way to a successful career in medicine, Garcia-Rider is a first-generation college student. While her parents supported her goals to attend the University, they were unable to help her financially.

“From the beginning, going to school was going to be 100 percent my own doing,” she says. “I held jobs as a tutor and as a banquet server, but scholarships have really made my education possible. Thanks to the scholarships I have received, I will graduate from medical school with very little debt. It’s one of the reasons I look forward to giving back when I’m in a position to.”

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