Renzo Cavero’s ambition to pursue a higher education is fueled by his desire to one day “give back” to his community, and to honor his parents for the many sacrifices they have made to give their children a better life. His parents are from Peru and did not have an opportunity to pursue a higher education.
Renzo was born and raised in Miami, Florida, the youngest of three boys. His parents worked hard to maintain their household and provide their sons every opportunity to succeed. Today they have the joy of seeing their boys in college. Yet this milestone also brings worry, due to the additional financial burden it places on the family. Renzo has been energetic in doing what he can to ease that burden, by applying for scholarships. His efforts have borne fruit; he is a recipient of The Gates Scholarship, and is also an HSF Scholar.
Currently a sophomore, he is majoring in Biochemistry at Columbia University and is also active in GlobalMed, a university-based program that partners with health organizations on global health issues. He traces his interest in the sciences directly back to his participation in summer research programs at Florida International University (FIU), in his hometown. Over each of five, consecutive summers he was able to explore a field of research new to him, such as Chemistry, Biology, and Physiology.
He says that in addition to exposing him to these fields, the stints helped him gain a better understanding of how scientists conduct and facilitate data collection. A testimony to lessons learned, was capturing third place at FIU’s Mini-Symposium when he presented his research findings. He hopes one day to apply his scientific knowledge as a physician.
In August 2019, Renzo was one of the top 100 Scholars invited to attend HSF’s annual, National Leadership Conference (NLC). NLC provides an inside track to academic and professional excellence for the best and brightest HSF Scholars, through a combination of mentoring, professional insights, and career guidance.
His participation introduced him to HSF’s network, which he lauds as an “immense support system,” comparing it to a large, extended, Latino family that has within it mentors and peers who support and “understand the struggles of Latinidad” in pursuit of a higher education. “HSF prepares me…to navigate real-world experiences, such as resume building and job localization. But most importantly, it does so in a way that does not sacrifice my Latinidad. It teaches me to be proud to showcase it,” he says.
Renzo encourages students to consider college “a beautiful opportunity” to enhance both their educational growth and personal learning. “It's a time to explore new interests and grasp who you want to be and what difference you want to make in your community,” he says, adding, “Everything you leave should always be bigger than you, and so college is the first step in learning how you can give your knowledge and support to others who aren't in a position as fortunate as the one you are in.”