Pushing the limits: UC is helping one student reach her dreams
A life-changing moment
When Bryn Cortez, CAHS ’25, reflects upon her scholarship, she has to pause to wipe away her tears.
“I remember when I got the phone call about getting a scholarship,” Cortez said. “It was life-changing. I fell to my knees. It was like I was in a movie. I was, like, what? Are you serious?”
In those moments, she said, “My entire perspective on everything I wanted to do changed.”
Cortez, who is entering her junior year as a pre-athletic training and pre-med major, is profoundly grateful for the scholarship — and to the donors who have funded it. The scholarship has given her the financial freedom to soak in all the opportunities UC has to offer.
“Overall, I could never ask for anything better in my life,” she said. “It has given me the best friends I’ve ever made, the best experiences I’ve ever had.”
Cortez’s mother was the one who encouraged her to set out on the athletic training path. “She did it in college and said it was really fun to work with sports teams,” Cortez said. “I thought I could get experience right off the bat, as opposed to other programs like PT or pre-med, where you don’t have any hands-on experiences until you’re already in graduate school or medical school.”
Cortez worked as a sports medicine student manager for the football team during her freshman and sophomore years. She is the current president of REHABCATs, a club for athletic trainers, and vice president of the Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students. “I have an organizational and leadership spirit,” Cortez said. “I love to be in charge of organizing.” Nevertheless, her priority as a leader is to give everyone attending meetings a chance to speak.
Helping students chase their passions
Cortez values the collaborative, multi-disciplinary nature of UC’s healthcare curriculum. “The professors will mix different pre-health students into the same class, so you get different viewpoints from the healthcare field,” she said.
In addition to coursework, Cortez has helped a graduate student in an organic chemistry lab and assisted dermatology researchers with clinical trials for treatments of skin conditions. She will soon serve as a supplemental instruction leader, teaching a weekly physics class that recaps the professor’s lecture.
Thank you for allowing me to choose this path that has led me towards my dreams.
Bryn Cortez, CAHS ’25 UC student
Cortez has no shortage of goals. She anticipates earning her master’s in athletic training in 2026; she hopes to intern at a “high-level, high-performing clinical site,” and she plans to enter medical school. Ultimately, she wants to become an orthopedic surgeon and the head physician for a collegiate or professional team. “I have a long road to go,” she admitted with a smile.
To the donors who have supported her, she said: “Thank you for allowing me to choose this path that has led me toward my dreams. Thank you for allowing me to save money for graduate school and eventually for medical school. Thank you for allowing me to chase opportunities.”
Featured image at top: College of Allied Health Sciences. Photo/Colleen Kelley/UC Marketing + Brand