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Student Testimonial

Mario Dewitt

When I was first accepted to Upstate, I was so excited and elated that my dream had come true! I was going to become a physician! All the excitement and joy quickly came crashing down when the realization of just how hard it’s going to be moving forward.

As a DACA recipient, stress, anxiety, and fear are feelings that are pervasive in everyday life. Even more so with applying and trying to attend medical school. I was having to navigate which schools could support me and would want to have me attend. I knew that my status would make many schools weary of me attending, even if they said they did not take that into account. I worried about if I would have any support at all or if people were going to judge me. Although I was used to that at this point, it’s still difficult to shake off those feelings when you go into a new environment.

Upstate welcomed me with open arms. They knew exactly who I was and my status, and made it very clear that they wanted me here regardless of that. Admissions and staff helped me during every potential roadblock and found creative ways to help. I felt that I could go to them for support without any reservations.

When I was in my first year of medical school, I vowed to try to create change so other students in my situation wouldn’t go through the same fears as I did. Upstate not only encouraged me but is actively helping in making those changes happen. We have a ton of momentum in reviving our DACA Taskforce and creating resources and support services for current and incoming DACA students.

Mario Lorenzana De Witt
Upstate Medical Student