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Meet the First-Generation Students in the Health Science Intensive Program

First-generation college students are known to face an uphill battle navigating their path through the higher education system. Those challenges continue for those who pursue even more education.

Yet several first-generation college students are pursuing a master’s degree at Johns Hopkins University through the Health Science Intensive program. The program is a concentration within the master’s of biotechnology degree. Health Science Intensive courses are held on the Montgomery County Campus.

The idea behind the program is to give students the opportunity to enroll in rigorous courses in the life sciences to prove their aptitude to study medicine. The hope is that after completing the concentration, students will be attractive medical school candidates.

Here are the stories of three first-generation students in this year’s Health Science Intensive program. (Click on each student's name or photo) They have been edited for length and clarity.


Brandon Brizuela



  Joanna Marie Hilao Headshot.jpg

Joanna Marie Hilao




Alexandra Vick.JPG

Alexandra Vick

CATEGORY: Academics