Juanita Fuentes

Utica College Partnerships Program Alumni

When did you graduate high school, and which high school did you attend?
I graduated in 2014 from Thomas R. Proctor High School in Utica, NY.

When did you graduate high school, and which high school did you attend?
Thomas R Proctor High School, 2005

What are you up to now?
Physician Assistant in Cardiac Surgery with Bassett Medical Center

How did you get involved with Liberty Partnerships?
I was looking for a way to give back to the community and volunteer and saw the mentoring program was a great way to try and give back to such an awesome program that has helped me so much. I also really believe in investing in today’s youth, so whatever support I can give, I want to try and do that with my time on Earth.

What are some of your favorite activities/programs that you did through Liberty Partnerships?
I remember getting so excited to learn during the summer, the health care programs during the summer really excited me and made me passionate about healthcare which led me on my journey post-high school. Also, the field trips we took gave me great experiences that I may not have otherwise had the opportunity to go to, for example, Washington, D.C.

Describe how Liberty Partnerships shaped your life both in and out of the classroom.
YSLPP gave me direction and support when I was in school and when I at times felt lost, they also always encouraged me. The people from YSLPP have also been a huge support after college ended and throughout life to help be a guiding light. Being involved in the mentoring program has been so great and has given me the opportunity to give back to a program that helped me SO much through my life. I honestly do not know where I would be if not for the Liberty Partnership program.

What are you most proud of?
I am proud of graduating college and graduate school. I am proud of becoming a PA and being able to help my family. I find that I have been able to overcome some adversity, and try always to keep persevering, even when times are tough.

What advice do you have for current students?
This sounds cliché, but you can never give up. You must lean into the supports around you when times get tough and stay positive. Life is always difficult and there will always be hurdles, no matter where you come from or what you do, but if you stay positive and work hard, it is so much easier to overcome obstacles and continue to move forward. And always stay passionate for what you believe in, find balance in life, and remember to have fun!