Marvin Miranda Jr.
Marvin Miranda Jr.
I was born in Nicaragua and came to the mission in San Francisco at the age of 3. From there I moved around the Bay Area a lot, attending 9 different K-12 schools until finally settling in Richmond. I was primarily raised by my single mom struggling to make ends meet and went to public schools my whole life. When I got to UC Berkeley, I was lost. I failed my first science class so obviously I was “too dumb” for college and I dropped out. When I returned, I was still lost but at least I knew to stay away from the sciences. I decided to be a clinical social worker so that I can still be involved in healthcare as my mother was a nurse assistant at the time and I looked up to her tremendously. I dropped out of college a second time as my family was being torn apart financially and emotionally due to substance abuse and addiction. When I returned to college the second time I found BSP. I was tutoring kids in Richmond and saw a fellow tutor with a BSP shirt on so I asked him what that was all about.
I remember walking into the BSP office to meet the advisors and how they instantly cared about me. We talked for an hour and even exchanged awkward hugs. They believed I could handle the sciences at Cal and were going to provide me with the resources to do just that. I was skeptical because let’s face it, I was a poor, under-educated Latino immigrant kid. I began thinking about possibly being a nurse, physicians assistant or physician but still did not believe I could do it. Through BSP, I met other students like myself that were working their butts off and doing it. I was inspired and I had the genuine encouragement of amazing mentors through BSP. Boom ,my world changed and I even ended up tutoring Organic Chemistry to my peers.
BSP believed in me when I didn't believe in myself. BSP cared about me when I had lost hope for compassion in the flawed institution of UC Berkeley. BSP provided the resources academically, mentally, socially, professionally, and did it all lovingly. They understand that 4 years is not enough time to make up for the disadvantages a lot of us have managed to overcome through our K-12 schooling just to step onto this campus as students. The higher I climb in my education, the more apparent the tools I lack become due to growing up in a family that lacked the economic, social, educational, and cultural capital that most of my classmates had growing up. The race for education is not a fair fight, but BSP gives us the strength in numbers and a bit of a safety net to know we are not alone and we can do it, as many of those ahead of us have done it.
I am one of the lucky few that have made the ascent in "socioeconomic status" through education achievement. These stories of the woman who made it to Harvard from the "hood", or the guy who became an entrepreneur who used to live on the streets are still publicized in the media because they are extremely rare. I hope that one day nobody will be so in awe of the ex-gangster who became a lawyer or the immigrant who became a CEO. The hope is that these stories become boring as they become less rare and more of the norm. That's what BSP is trying to do and so far we are off to a good start.
I have currently finished my 3rd year of medical school at UCSF and am taking this year to pursue an MPH at UC Berkeley before completing medical school in 2015. I am the VP of mentorship for the Latino Medical Association-West region and am the proud father of a rambunctious 3 year old boy.
B.A. Social Welfare U.C. Berkeley 2006
MPH U.C. Berkeley 2014
M.D. UCSF 2015