By Mary Voelbel
Monica came to the US in 2006 from Columbia with a Masters degree in Child Abuse Prevention and years of experience in public health. Originally an ESL student, she spent 5 years working minimum wage jobs until she learned about Upwardly Global and how to rebuild her career.
“El que persevera alcanza”
My father told me this when I was a child: “el que persevera alcanza.” In Colombia, my home, this phrase means that if one has the courage to do something and believes they can do it, they will. From when I was young, I always wanted to help people especially children. I studied dentistry because I wanted to work with children and, in Bogota dentists have the advantage of seeing patients more often than physicians. So, I spent seven years studying at Pontifical Javeriana University to earn my Doctor of Dentistry and Masters in Child Abuse Prevention.
“Helping families was always the goal. I wanted to help people and it didn’t matter the angle. With my education, I designed a program to teach dentists how to diagnose and prevent child abuse.”
I came to the US with years of experience in public health, health education, and clinical practice. I moved here to study English, then met my future husband and decided to stay in the US to be with him. I had no idea getting back into my field would be so hard. When I settled here, back in 2006, my first thought was to go to dental school. But, then you start finding out about all the obstacles – the cost, the years of study, the fact that you have go to University all over again.