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Tomas Morales ’10


Tomas Morales ’10 (Classical High School) graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2014 with a B.S. in Biological Sciences and a B.A. in Spanish. He is currently enrolled at the Loyola University of Chicago Stritch School of Medicine and will graduate in 2020 with an M.D. degree. “I believe that my bilingual and bicultural skills in combination with a rigorous medical training will enable me to provide comprehensive and equitable medical care to people of different walks of life, especially marginalized communities,” he says.

As a child, Tomas saw firsthand the need for more language interpreters in the medical field. “Being the eldest English-speaking son, I often accompanied my parents to their medical appointments and served as an amateur interpreter,” he says. “Throughout my college career, I continued to serve as my parents’ personal interpreter, assisting them in translating mortgage and refinancing documents, job applications, and health insurance forms. Over time, I developed a passion to serve and advocate for patient communities who share similar experiences with health disparities as my family. Today because of this passion, I strongly desire to become a physician.”

While Tomas was in college, he served as a medical interpreter at the Rhode Island Free Clinic in Providence. He helped recruit healthcare professionals to volunteer at the clinic and worked with a team of other AmeriCorps VISTA employees to increase the clinic’s capacity and resources. “This was my first opportunity to use the skills I developed as a child to help serve other limited-English-speaking patients who have limited health literacy and find themselves frustrated in their search for quality healthcare,” he says. “Working as an interpreter also strengthened my interest in becoming a physician because I found myself feeling excited to learn from the doctors and loved the challenge of learning to communicate using anatomical and medical terminology. Additionally, I was encouraged that my cultural and linguistic knowledge made me a valuable asset to the medical team.”

For Tomas, the best thing about college was all the opportunities it offered him for mentorship. “I learned how to ask for help and receive constructive criticism,” he says. “I met many advisors, professors, and students who gave me honest advice and helped me pursue my career goals. I also had plenty of good times and laughs with my friends and professors.”

He also appreciated receiving a College Crusade scholarship. “It was a huge help,” he says. “I commuted to URI all four of my college years. Without the College Crusade scholarship, I would be in major debt today. Now that I’m in medical school, I’m glad that I don’t have to worry about paying off enormous undergraduate loans.”

Tomas still recalls the day he signed up to join The College Crusade. “Even as a third grader, I knew that college was for me,” he says. “Looking back, that was probably one of the wisest decisions I made in my life. What I enjoyed the most in the program was meeting other Crusaders from different schools, doing fun activities in the summer, and learning from our College Crusade advisors.” The advisor Tomas especially remembers was John Carl. They lost touch after middle school, but then met up again at URI years later. “I was back on campus to visit one of my pre-med advisors and go over final edits for my medical school application,” says Tomas. “As I walked through the campus, I bumped into John Carl, who was now working at URI. I was glad to catch up with him. It was a meaningful experience for me, since JC and his advisor peers encouraged me to pursue higher education.”

In his free time, Tomas enjoys playing the guitar, biking through the Chicago Lake Front Trail or the East Bay Bike Path in Rhode Island, and discovering new Chicago restaurants. He also likes traveling to new places.

He has this advice for Crusaders starting college in the fall: “Listen to your advisors. Value mentorship. Work hard and challenge yourself. Believe in yourself, and don’t be afraid to ask for help. Take advantage of every opportunity The College Crusade offers you – you won’t regret it.”

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