Lending a helping hand

Paola Orozco’s motivation to help other people influenced her to move from Mexico to Mizzou to pursue a career in medicine.

May 6, 2024
Contact: Courtney Perrett, cperrett@missouri.edu

While playing soccer in high school, Paola Orozco had an accident that led to surgery. Motivated to help others who find themselves in a similar situation, she’s pursuing a career in medicine more than 1,600 miles away from her hometown of Guadalajara, Mexico.

From the moment she arrived at the University of Missouri in 2020, Orozco said she found a welcoming community of peers and mentors who have supported her every step of the way. She enjoyed her experience so much she decided to stay at Mizzou to complete her residency in internal medicine pediatrics.

Read on for a Q&A with Orozco about her Mizzou experience.

Why did you choose Mizzou?

I had never been to the state of Missouri before, but I felt welcomed once I got to Mizzou. Also, after I received my acceptance letter, they offered me a scholarship for medical school through the dean’s office, and that helped make it an easy decision for me.

How did you take advantage of hands-on learning opportunities on campus?

Mizzou offers a lot of opportunities to start getting into the clinical aspects of the degree — even early in med school. Because of the way the program is structured, I was able to get a lot of hands-on learning opportunities that have helped me plan out my whole career.

What was your favorite thing about campus?

The location. I only needed about 10 minutes to get from my apartment to campus. Also, it’s close to downtown Columbia, where there are a lot of restaurants to choose from. And within the hospital, we have a coffee shop, which is a great opportunity for a pick-me-up during the day.

What was your favorite class?

My favorite class was during my third year of medical school because that’s when we got started with the clinical rotations in the hospital. We started doing more hands-on things and figured out what specialty we wanted to go into — all while also meeting peers who are interested in the same field.

What’s your favorite Mizzou memory?

My favorite Mizzou memory is when we got handed our coats at the White Coat Ceremony. That was an amazing day because it marked a major milestone in what I’ve been working so hard for.

Why are you proud to be a Tiger?

I am proud to be a Tiger because coming to Mizzou has helped me grow a lot both personally and professionally. I’ve found a lot of support through my mentors and peers, and I truly feel like Mizzou is my home.

What would you tell someone who’s interested in coming to Mizzou?

If you’re interested in coming to Mizzou, know that you’ll feel welcomed. We have everything you need, whether you are an undergraduate or someone coming to medical school. We have great deans, professors and physicians who can help you succeed, and everyone cares about your success.

Story written by Eric Stann

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