What's in your Backpack?

“A model of a brain,” said Aaron Carrillo, a junior majoring in human biology and specializing in pre-medicine. Carrillo is an anatomy teaching assistant and is inspired by what the medical community will discover about the brain, and how his students may contribute. “The brain is so complex. Advancing our understanding of it is something they can accomplish.”

Carrillo initially majored in biomechanical engineering before he realized he wasn’t getting the human interaction he craved. He doesn’t regret changing majors. “I’ve been able to teach, I’ve had great professors and advisors who have improved me as a person. I love it.”

The connections physicians make with their patients inspires Carrillo, and he is eager to follow in their footsteps. As a child, his family couldn’t afford health insurance so visits to the doctor were rare — until his mother needed treatment for cancer. “Seeing those doctors, how they bridged this gap between having a doctorate and working with people who hadn’t even gone to high school. I got addicted to that.”

Carrillo said he has faced obstacles as a Vietnamese-Hispanic-American with limited financial resources. Thanks to scholarships, he is able to attend KU and volunteer at the hospital. He also studied abroad in Vietnam and interned at two organizations there, one for children who are HIV-positive and the other for undocumented children living in poverty. “All the people who have given money to KU, I owe my education to. Thank you for understanding that there are students here who don’t have the resources.”

EMILY COX