When Libna Luevanos graduated from Boise High School in 2014 she wasn’t sure what would happen next. Her parents wanted her to work. She wanted to learn. Always fascinated with science and the human body, she was exposed to forensics in high school and thought criminal justice may be a natural fit. As it turns out, her decision to attend College of Western Idaho (CWI) ultimately determined what she would do.
“I know I will be a doctor someday,” she said. “I don’t know when and I don’t know where—but I know I will be.”
CWI has fueled Libna’s interest in human biology—more specifically the study of medicine. Two specific courses helped define her goal; Biology 100 with Dusty Perkins and an opportunity to visit the state’s cadaver lab with her anatomy and physiology class.
“Dusty’s class filled me with curiosity,” she said. “I wanted to know why things happen the way they do. The cadaver lab visit was a very humbling experience. Knowing that someone would allow their body to be researched for the greater good served as reinforcement that I knew I was on the right path.”
Libna’s path led to CWI for financial reasons. A Mexico native, she doesn’t qualify for federal financial aid. Although she has lived in the United States nearly her entire life, she is not a citizen. She has approached college with a pay-as-you-go strategy. To her advantage, she has completed her education debt-free.
“I have friends who are freaking out about how much they owe,” she said. “I have no debt and I am very relieved.”
Libna works two jobs in addition to her full-time academic schedule. For her, every penny counts. She was recently awarded the Institute for Mexicans Abroad (IME) Scholarship through the CWI Foundation.
“This scholarship has been such a blessing,” she said. “Being the first person in my family to graduate from high school and also attend college has proven quite hard. It has been a learning curve to even attend college. CWI was the right choice for me. It was better to start here, learn how to talk to instructors and do things the right way, and then go off to another college knowing how to navigate the system.”
Libna has one more year at CWI. She plans to transfer to Idaho State University’s pre-med program after she graduates. Her ultimate life goal is to become a cardiothoracic surgeon; a medical doctor who specializes in surgical procedures of the heart, lungs, esophagus, and other organs in the chest.