Elias Castro from the Latin Student Medical Association
The next spotlight in the #HumansofGUSOM series is on the co-president of the Latin Medical Student Association (LMSA), Elias Castro.
As an undergraduate student, Elias developed a strong love for science and found himself torn between pursuing a Ph.D. or applying to medical school. However, while he was working as a lab technician for Dr. Dorothy Lerit at Emory University, Elias realized his true passion lied with medicine. “While I enjoyed making discoveries, planning my experiments, writing things up, and actually coming to conclusions on my own… I didn’t feel like I was doing anything for the world but really just fostering my curiosity. I just didn’t feel like I was making as much of a difference as I could on my day to day….I felt like I needed more, and I have found that in medicine for sure.”
Elias grew up in Georgia and had his heart set on attending medical school close to home, so it came as a surprise when one of his top medical school picks ended up being located hundreds of miles away. “Countless of times I was the only Hispanic being interviewed that day. Granted not many people get interviewed, but still, it’s daunting when you’re the only minority in a room going to be interviewed. Even though that was the case at Georgetown, I still felt like I was going to be supported at this institution”, he recalled. “I could tell that Georgetown cared for undocumented students, they cared for their black students and what’s going on especially right now in this in the world today…and I just really got this sense that I need to be at this place, I needed to go to this school.”
Elias always knew he wanted to be involved with LMSA. One of his main goals for this year is to increase their presence on campus and continue to recruit members. “I really wanted to create a space for Latino students to come together and also bring some flavor to the medical community”, he joked. While one of his goals is to create a stronger community for Latinx students, Elias emphasized that LMSA “isn’t just for Latino students, it’s for anyone at Georgetown. We are always trying to increase membership and increase our presence.”
For those that are beginning their medical school journey, Elias wanted to stress that while “it might be kind of tough just because of the current climate we’re in… I want to say that you have worked for this and you are all able to do this. You are one hundred percent capable and you are in the right place.” Additionally, he emphasized the importance of the journey and not just the end goal. “I really think that people should enjoy what they’re doing right now. If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing to get to your goal, then maybe your goal isn’t correct. You should be enjoying the entire process and should really be proud of yourself and of your successes throughout the entire process. Enjoy the now because once you reach your goal there’s always going to be another one.”