As the oldest sibling and cousin in her family, Kenia Sanchez, ’25, began accompanying her Spanish-speaking parents and relatives to doctors’ offices and other appointments when she was a child to serve as a translator. 

Even at a young age, Sanchez took note that almost all the doctors her family visited were white and male, and committed to becoming a doctor herself so she could help change the face of medicine.

“I definitely do think there should be more women doctors,” according to Sanchez. “If we increase mentorship opportunities for women seeking to work in the medical field, it can encourage them to keep pushing.”

Women's History Month is a good time to remember that women couldn’t always do what they can do today, including attend medical school, she said. “There is much opportunity for us out there that we must take advantage of,” noted Sanchez. “Hopefully, one day we can also make the same amount of money as men do in certain fields, like medicine.”

To diversify her skills and help meet her goals, Sanchez, a Science, Technology, & Society major from Brentwood, applied and was awarded an internship with the Long Island Library Resources Council’s (LLRC) Diversity Internship Program. The paid internship is designed to introduce Long Island undergraduates from underrepresented groups to librarianship as a possible career. She also works as a student assistant at Greenley Hall.

Sanchez was a good match for the criteria and mission of the competitive internship, according to Senior Assistant Librarian Fatoma Rad, Sanchez’s supervisor at Greenley. She is the first FSC student to receive it. “We’re very proud of her—she’ll get exposed to different demographics and different libraries, and learn about different populations and resources,” Rad said. 

During her internship, Sanchez is scheduled to shadow staff members at the SUNY Stony Brook Health Sciences Library, and work with medical and nursing students, physicians, and faculty, according to Sally Stieglitz, Communications and Outreach Coordinator, Liaison to Academic, Hospital, and Special Libraries for LLRC. She also plans to visit other libraries with specialties and while working in LLRC’s Bellport offices, assist with communications, marketing, and programs. “I’m hoping to get to know people, learn about their jobs, and spend time at Stony Brook’s Health Sciences Library,” Sanchez said.  

The internship appealed to Sanchez in part because of LLRC’s desire to reach out to minority students. “You only miss 99 percent of the chances you don’t take,” she added. 

Sanchez rarely passes up a chance to share her knowledge or her time, according to Rad.  “She is self-motivated and passionate about how she can use her skills to help others,” Rad added. 

Sanchez enjoys collaborating with classmates. “I’ve worked alongside other female students on campus within my science courses such as biology and organic chemistry. It has been encouraging for us to have each other to lean on when we need to study.”

Already Sanchez is acting on one of her goals to help people in third-world countries. She founded a non-profit organization and has held fundraisers to buy goods for families in El Salvador and the Dominican Republic, traveling to the countries with friends and family members to deliver the items or in the case of beds, purchase them there.

She also helped native Spanish-speaking FSC students get acclimated to research by translating one of Greenley’s online study guides into Spanish in Spring 2022. Then during the summer, working with Rad, she recorded a study guide video in Spanish as well. Rad has been a great source of inspiration for her, Sanchez added. “Ever since I met her, she has kept pushing me to do the best I can and has also mentored me.”

A member of the RAM program, Sanchez also mentors other students, including helping them schedule classes and tutoring them in subjects she already has taken.

Sanchez’s talents and ambition ensure her success will continue. “We know she will do great things,” said Rad.