Even as a young child Natalia Guzman always knew that she wanted to help others. At the age of 3, she saw her mom, Teresa, successfully battle leukemia. Afterwards, Natalia became aware of several close family members in El Salvador who had passed away due to diabetes. These events provided inspiration for Natalia to want to study Medicine and become a Pediatrician as well as a Physician Nutrition Specialist.
The Tri-County Scholarship Fund played an important role in her life, providing partial scholarships that enabled her to attend Mary Help of Christian’s Academy for several years.
“I want to help prevent illnesses before people get sick,” says Natalia. Her participation as a high school student intern at St. Joseph’s Hospital in Paterson provided an inspirational and educational experience. Currently a Rutgers Nutritional Sciences major, Natalia is on track to graduate in 2020 and plans to go on to medical school.
According to Dr. Thomas Haring, Mary Help Director of Student Services, “Natalia ranked in the top 5 graduates of the 2016 senior class, maintaining a 97.78% grade average during her high school years, all while challenging herself with a varied course load.
Taking nothing for granted, Natalia says, “I took it seriously right from my freshman year. I knew I had to work hard. That opened doors to a lot of opportunities.” Natalia also volunteered as a senior citizen aide and served as an Ambassador, promoting her school to prospective students. She did all of this while managing school volleyball and softball teams and dance cheering for Don Bosco’s baseball team.
Natalia was inspired by the values and work ethic demonstrated by her parents. Her mother is a teacher’s assistant in a day care, and her father, a night-shift textile worker. They work extremely hard and are grateful and ecstatic about all 3 of their children’s successes. “They remind us how hard they worked so we can be successful and not have to struggle as much as they did,” says Natalia. The constant support she receives serves to “motivate and inspire me to keep going.” Dr. Haring attests to Natalia’s “modest and natural personality,” causing her to be “highly respected by faculty and her peers.”
Natalia said her relationships with Tri-County donors greatly inspired her to do well. “They were so nice and willing to get to know me on a personal level. Hearing the speakers and students talk at Tri-County events made me glad to have the opportunity from Tri-County to attend a private school. I hope that one day I can give back as they did,” says Natalia.