Below are bios and thank you notes from this year’s recipients of our class’s grants under the Bridges to Healthcare initiative. For more about the program, visit our Class Projects page.

Julian Franco Jr. ’24

I am writing to express my profound gratitude for the generous grant you have provided me, which has been a guiding star during my Dartmouth career – marked by both challenges and discoveries. My experience here has been enriched by the wonderful community of peers and faculty, dealing with the intense academic environment, and wrestling with the financial constraints that come with attending this prestigious school. This grant arrived at a critical moment in my life as I deliberated over the significant investment of time and resources required for medical school.

Against the personal and global uncertainties brought on by COVID-19 and other personal obstacles, your support has not only alleviated a financial burden but has also instilled my dedication to pursue my aspirations in the medical field. It has renewed my optimism and purpose while also reassuring me that there is always a way forward, despite the many obstacles. I am deeply thankful for your belief in my potential and the impact your generosity has made in my life. This grant has not only affected me but my family as well and is something that I will never forget. 

Thank you again,

Julian Franco Jr.

Bio

As a Biology major with a minor in Hispanic Studies, I am a proud Long Island native, embracing my identity as a first-generation, low-income Latino student with every step I take. My background has deeply influenced my educational journey, as well as my deep passion for soccer. These lessons are the foundation of my ambition to effect positive change. With a strong commitment to my community and a desire to make a difference, I am keenly preparing for a future in the health field. Whether my path leads me to medical school or another career within healthcare, my goal is to tackle health disparities in any way, shape, or form.

Maryanne Barasa ’25

Dear Class of ’85,

I am writing with immense happiness to express my sincere gratitude for your generous grant donation of $1500, which will greatly assist me in the upcoming application cycle. I was thrilled to learn that I have been selected as a recipient of the Class of ’85 Bridges to Health Professions Grant, and I deeply appreciate your support.

I am currently a junior majoring in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Cell Biology and minoring in Neuroscience on the pre-med track. On campus, as an E.E. Just fellow, I am heavily involved in research as a member of the Hill lab, where we have just published our first paper based on the work I have contributed to over the last two years. Outside of school, I volunteer at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center under the Physical Therapy department, working with long-term patients to help them with mobility while providing emotional support as a fitness friend.

I aspire to become a physician-scientist, specifically a neurologist, and to establish a lab to further research in the interdisciplinary field of cellular and molecular neurobiology. Thanks to your generous donation, I will be able to mitigate the costs of MCAT study and preparation, bringing me one step closer to achieving my goals.

Thank you again for your generosity and support.

Sincerely,

Maryanne Njeri Barasa

Bio

I am currently a junior majoring in Biological Sciences with a concentration in Cell Biology and minoring in Neuroscience on the pre-med track. On campus, as an E.E. Just fellow, I am heavily involved in research as a member of the Hill lab, where we have begun the publication process for a first paper based on the work I have contributed to over the last two years. Outside of school, I volunteer at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center under the Physical Therapy department, working with long-term patients to help them with mobility while providing emotional support as a fitness friend.

I aspire to become a physician-scientist, specifically a neurologist, and to establish a lab to further research in the interdisciplinary field of cellular and molecular neurobiology. However, my long-term vision involves transitioning into part-time clinical care and assuming a part-time role as a professor. By doing so, I will have the privilege of mentoring and inspiring the next generation of scientists and physicians, imparting upon them the knowledge and passion necessary for success. Moreover, I am particularly dedicated to empowering young black women, and encouraging their pursuit of science-based careers. Finally, I am determined to bridge the research gap in African countries where the emphasis on scientific exploration may be lacking. Through these efforts, I aspire to foster a global community of physicians and contribute to the scientific progress of underserved regions.

Nour-Maria Bouzid ’25

Dear Class of ‘85,

I sincerely thank the Class of ’85 for eliminating the barrier to the MCAT preparation process. It was incredibly stressful having to figure out how many jobs I would have to maintain while studying for the MCAT and doing research, but now with this funding, I can focus more time on the actual studying rather than worrying about the financial aspect. I am a Questbridge student so this funding is life-changing for me, thank you so much from the bottom of my heart!

Sincerely,

Maria

Bio

I am currently a junior at Dartmouth College majoring in human biology with a minor in French. During my free time, I enjoy reading, rollerblading, baking, and writing poetry! I was born in Annaba, Algeria, and grew up there up until 2015, which is when I moved to Virginia. A fun fact about me is that I speak four languages (Arabic, French, English, and Tamazight). I am hoping to pursue an MD after my undergraduate years, and I am at the present moment interested in surgery as a general specialty.