Winter 2020

Healthy start

Brady Willette

Being a family medicine doctor has been a longtime goal for Kansas native Rachel Ruiz, who originally applied to colleges close to home. Then she heard from the University of Minnesota Rochester (UMR) and was drawn to the school’s health sciences focus.

“It’s small, and the relationship with Mayo is strong,” Ruiz says. “I love it and am learning a lot.” 

Now in her freshman year, she’s part of Health CORE, a scholarship program that supports the success of underrepresented students. Students live and learn together and participate in leadership and civic engagement activities. 

Ruiz is also in a pre-med program run by Mayo Clinic Alix School of Medicine students. “I’m networking with Mayo doctors and being mentored by a fourth-year student,” she says. 

Ruiz is grateful to be the first recipient of an endowed four-year scholarship created by Hugh Smith, a former CEO of Mayo Clinic, and his wife, Aynsley, ’89 M.A., ’95 Ph.D. “It’s all helping me prepare for my future and where I want to take my career,” she says.