Meet Our Summer Associates: Nadine Lanila

 In Scholar Profiles

Nadine Lanila currently attends UC Davis and is a member of the class of 2026. A graduate of De Anza High School, she is majoring in Global Disease Biology at UC Davis.

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself. Is there anything in particular that motivates you as you go through college and prepare yourself for a career?

A:  I grew up here in Richmond and attended West Contra Costa schools throughout my life. I come from a Filipino family, and I’m the youngest of three siblings. I’m blessed to be the first in my family to attend college. Ultimately, I want to give back to my parents and sisters for sacrificing their lives for my future. Pursuing STEM as a first-generation student is not easy, but I’ll always hold my roots steadfast with me to keep me going.

Q: How has Richmond Promise played a role in your education?

A: Richmond Promise has greatly supported me in affording college. Since I graduated high school, they’ve given me the opportunity to go to college to pursue my dreams in public health research. During my first year at Davis, I didn’t have to worry about the financial burdens of tuition because of the Richmond Promise scholarship and my financial aid. I’ve also gotten this great opportunity to be a Summer Associate, which has really shifted my mindset towards my own education. As a Richmond Promise Summer Associate, I’ve realized the importance of bridging educational gaps and eliminating inequities.

Q: Why did you choose to be a Richmond Promise Summer Associate and what are you hoping to take from the experience?

A: I chose to be a Summer Associate because I’ve always wanted to give back to the community that shaped me to who I am today. It means a lot to me to be able to help other first-generation students who’ve experienced similar struggles. I hope to empower and uplift incoming college students from Richmond to rise above their struggles and take up space at their universities.

Q: What do you want to contribute to Richmond and/or the world?

A: I want to serve the community of Richmond and the world through giving back and making sure more bright and diligent students are able to pursue their dreams. I hope for this world to be filled with our vibrant culture, and I believe that we can achieve that through breaking educational barriers.

Q: Can you tell us about your current college experience?

A: I’ve struggled a lot over the past year with my academics. Navigating through STEM classes was intimidating at first because the classes were fast paced and everyone around me was competitive. Despite the rigorous classes, I was able to build a supportive community among my other first-gen peers and this helped me improve in my academics. I’ve had my highs and lows, I’ve failed and succeeded, but I’ve learned that the best way to thrive in college is to make connections with other people. I was never alone throughout my journey because I had amazing friends and professors that were willing to help me. All it took was to ask for help.

Q: What are you looking forward to after receiving your bachelor’s/transferring?

A: I’m looking forward to making my family and community proud after graduating with my Bachelor’s in Global Disease Biology. With this degree, I want to pursue a career in environmental research and public health!

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