Levine Scholar Andrea Badillo-Pérez will pursue her passion for service as she heads to New York University Grossman School of Medicine with full funding, after receiving acceptances from 10 top-rated medical schools. Badillo-Pérez earned bachelor’s degrees in biology and psychology in the College of Liberal Arts & Sciences and a minor in public health in the College of Health and Human Services.
In addition to NYU Grossman School of Medicine, she was accepted to:
- Harvard Medical School
- Columbia University School of Medicine
- University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine
- Duke University School of Medicine
- University of Virginia School of Medicine
- UNC-Chapel Hill School of Medicine
- University of Miami Miller School of Medicine
- Yale University School of Medicine
- Georgetown University School of Medicine
Badillo-Pérez was involved with a number of campus organizations, including Health Care Justice at UNC Charlotte, of which she was co-founder and president; and Special Olympics College, of which she was president. She held teaching assistantships in psychology and chemistry, was an Executive Committee Member with the Levine Scholars Program, and studied abroad in South Africa and Spain.
She held internships with Lily’s Angels Down Syndrome Awareness Foundation and Charlotte Community Health Clinic, and was a medical interpreter at clinics for people who are low-income. She developed a pediatric gastroenterology cooking class at Levine Children’s Hospital, coordinated a service trip to Puerto Rico, and was a community resource hub developer at Clinton Chapel in collaboration with Biddle Point Clinic and Atrium Health.
She conducted and presented research into:
- Causes and Current Interventions Methods of Gender-Based Violence in South Africa
- Evaluating the Implementation of a Food Pharmacy to Address Acute Food Insecurity
- Effects of Perceived Stress Reactivity and Locus of Control on Reward Based Eating Drives – Psychology Lab
- Investigating the Effects of Socioeconomic Status and Locus of Control on a Guided Imagery Healthy Eating Intervention: Honors Thesis in Psychology
Badillo-Pérez shares thoughts about her UNC Charlotte experiences.
Why did you choose UNC Charlotte?
I chose UNC Charlotte because I was gifted with the opportunity to be part of the Levine Scholars Program (LSP). The LSP at UNC Charlotte utilizes an unmatchable combination of pre-professional, service-oriented, and hands-on experiences that each build upon one another to create leaders of change and hope in whatever field scholars decide to explore. This was an opportunity I could not pass up – the opportunity of a lifetime I am so grateful to have accepted.
What hurdles or difficulties have you had to overcome?
While my time at UNC Charlotte is filled with fond and positive memories, one difficulty I had when moving to Charlotte from Puerto Rico is finding hispanic friends to connect with. I did feel lonely/homesick during my first year, but I quickly got immersed in student orgs and my scholarship program and found much social support from both.
What are your UNC Charlotte highlights or favorite memories?
Bonding with other pre-medical or biology students in my classes was a huge highlight for me during my time at UNC Charlotte. My classes were always filled with brilliant and diverse students that I could connect with and learn from, especially during challenging courses such as organic chemistry or eukaryotic microbiology. Another highlight would be the beautiful campus that UNC Charlotte has. I loved taking walks on campus, especially to the Botanical Gardens, and I truly felt lucky to take classes, learn, and grow as an individual in such a beautiful place.
My biggest highlight would be the community I found within the Levine Scholars Program. What is most special about the LSP in my eyes is without a doubt the opportunity it gives you to grow alongside people who might have entirely different academic interests, but with the same omnipresent purpose to serve the greater good. Being surrounded by such amazing people, being guided by caring mentors in my departments, and doing it all in such a special campus are memories I will always cherish.
Who are faculty or staff members who had an impact on you – and why?
1. Dr. Diane Zablotsky: Dr. Z was so much more than just the director of LSP. She was my ally and my support system whenever I needed it the most. Her door was always open to me, and she helped me make so many important decisions about my career trajectory throughout my time at UNC Charlotte.
2. Dr. Elizabeth Hanie: Dr. Hanie was another super supportive mentor throughout my premedical journey. I am appreciative of the fact that her door was always open for me and that we connected as early as my first semester at UNC Charlotte to make sure I maximized my time here as a pre-medical student.
3. Dr. Sara Levens: Dr. Levens was an amazing research mentor. She taught me so much about the field of Psychology and I greatly admire her research experiences and projects that she has let me work on with her. She was also so much more than that, and deeply cared about my decisions regarding my future career and other opportunities that I was presented with during my time at UNC Charlotte.
4. Dr. Matthew Parrow: Dr. Parrow was an AMAZING professor. His class was so entertaining and his passion for teaching resonated with each and every student in our class. He was always available to us, encouraged us to challenge ourselves, and supported us every step of the way. His class was truly a special one and one of my highlights during my time at UNC Charlotte. He was become an important mentor of mine since then, having written a letter of recommendation for me and keeping up with all my post-grad decisions. I deeply appreciate having met Dr. Parrow, having witnessed his love for teaching and commitment to his students, and having had his support both academically and personally.
What advice do you have for the next group of UNC Charlotte students?
My advice would be to maximize your time at UNC Charlotte. Become as involved as you can. Join student organizations, make an effort to form friendships in your classes, go to professors’ office hours to learn more from them, and be grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow in this university.
Read more about Badillo-Pérez’s experiences as a Levine Scholar.