Beatrice Torres has a knack for relating to people and finding little pieces of home everywhere she goes. As a member of The University of Texas at Austin’s chapter of StudentsCare, she has spent some of her time brightening the hospital experience for kids. She remembers a young girl she met before the pandemic who was a patient at Dell Children’s Medical Center. Soon after becoming acquainted, they talked about their shared experiences as natives of the Rio Grande Valley in South Texas. The young girl’s face would light up as they spoke in Spanish about their love of Mexican food and how important family is to them.
“Experiences like that are really humbling, and it teaches me a big lesson on appreciating life and wanting to serve others,” she says.
An outstanding senior from the class of 2021, Torres says she was motivated to major in neuroscience after witnessing family members struggle with neurological disorders. “I grew up with a mom who had a brain tumor, so I was enduring the repercussions of that and trying to help her whenever she had seizures and with her medications,” she says. “I very much wanted to help her in any way that I could, but I knew that I couldn’t do much given that I wasn’t a doctor or her specialist. So that was one motivation.”
Other motivations included her desire to help her sister, who has autism, and a grandmother, who has schizophrenia. “I really wanted to learn why they were facing these things, how can I help them and how can I better understand what’s going on.”
With the support and encouragement of her family and high school teachers, Torres chose to move five hours away from her hometown to attend UT Austin. She says this was a crucial decision, and she recalls her dad emphasizing the importance of attending college. “You need to go — you’re first-generation, you’re going to do things that none of us could ever do,” he said.