Meet Cathya Mendoza. Cathya attends Holy Names University in Oakland and is a student in Alameda Health System’s (AHS) HealthPATH program. HealthPATH is a workforce development initiative of AHS that prepares youth and young adults for healthcare careers.

“We are all fighting for our future.

Programs like HEAL set students on the path without the need for money. You could be a student who is super rich or super poor and still have the same opportunities. We are driven by the same desires.

I was born in Mexico. I came to the United States when I was 7 years old, straight to Oakland. Now I am 19. The reason I am in college right now is because of this internship. HEAL gave me that push to be able to network and start speaking with professionals and different people. I was a very closed-off person, always super shy, not confident of my English.

I am now a biology major at Holy Names University, hoping to go straight to medical school and then come back and work for Highland Hospital, the internship program, and do a residency here. There’s just this amazing, synchronized unity of this team coalescing to take care of another person. I see myself as part of the team.

I see myself as a surgeon, something I really am passionate about. I think it is because of my mom. I tend to try to help others. I’m the person who tries to bring people together to work.

I have a lot of family. They’re not blood family, but my mom has friends that she adopted so they kind of became our family. I have a huge support system, and with HealthPATH mentors, I have a bunch of cheerleaders in my corner.

The reason I am here right now is because of this internship.” ~Cathya

Through internships and other work‐based learning experiences at AHS’s network of hospitals and wellness centers, HealthPATH exposes young people to career opportunities in the healthcare field while promoting academic excellence and teaching skills for life success. HealthPATH’s ultimate goal is to cultivate a pipeline of diverse and culturally competent healthcare workers who will become the future workforce of AHS.

To learn more about Cathya and other HealthPATH students visit the Oakland Youth Story Bank Website.