Student Spotlight 2022: Laura Medina, U.S. Army

Tell us about yourself.

I was born and raised in Whittier, CA. I joined the military because I wanted to try something new and served as a Pharmacy Specialist in the Army. A fun fact about myself is that I have completed three marathons and three half marathons. Also, road marches were my favorite when I was on active duty.

What was your educational background prior to attending WSP, and which of our courses did you attend?

Before attending the all-women cohort at Yale, I had already earned my bachelor’s degree. 

Why did you decide to participate in WSP this summer, and was there a shift in your confidence level from the first day of the course to the last day? 

I decided to participate in WSP because I read some insightful and motivating stories on the WSP website from prior participants. I told myself I wanted that experience too. 

If I could describe my confidence level from a rank of 1 to 10, 10 being the most confident, I would say that I was at about 7 on the first day. I give it a 7 because I was very hesitant about the humanities week since I did not consider myself the best at it. Although I consider myself more of an extrovert than an introvert, I tend to get shy when I must speak about topics I am not entirely comfortable or familiar with. However, my confidence level at the end of the course was a 10. I now feel comfortable and confident in speaking about various topics within humanities and STEM without having to doubt myself.

What were some key insights you gained during your courses, and what is your biggest takeaway? 

During humanities week, I appreciated the feedback provided when we had to write an essay about American Democracy. I also enjoyed STEM week because I learned how to approach problem sets differently. Overall, the humanities and STEM courses enhanced my leadership and critical thinking skills. This experience proved that I can do anything I set my mind to. 

If I could redefine my definition of leadership, I would say it is about influencing and building relationships. Regardless of your title, you cannot be a leader without those two essential things. I want to continue influencing people positively and building as many healthy relationships as possible. 

I participated in the all-women’s cohort at Yale. It was refreshing to be surrounded by extraordinary military women with so much to offer. Although we have all taken different paths and are all at different stages in our lives, we all want to pursue higher education and accomplish our goals. It is never too late, and you are not too old; these are things that society has embedded in us. We are in control of our timeline, so go at your own pace, and the rest will follow.

The most important thing I learned at WSP is that I have spent way too much time doubting myself. I no longer question my ability to apply to schools that I was hesitant about before. WSP has made a huge positive impact on this.

In one word, how would you describe your overall experience?

EXCEPTIONAL!

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