Scholar Spotlight: Johanna Castillo
Rising senior at University of Iowa
“Thanks to the Bright scholarship, I have been able to focus on my career goals. I have time to participate in student organizations, volunteer and do research. Knowing that I don’t have to work long hours has given me the freedom to try new things and focus on my studies.”
What is the most interesting thing you have done to gain experience in your career field?
I have been working in the College of Dentistry as a lab technician in the orthodontic clinic. One of my main tasks is to make retainers for patients. I am so grateful for this opportunity. Being able to gain hands-on experience as an undergrad is incredible. It has given me an insider look into the field of orthodontics.
What does being a Bright Scholar mean to you?
Words cannot describe what being a Bright Scholar means to me. Knowing that my tuition is taken care of lifted an enormous weight off my shoulder. As a both a first-generation student and an immigrant, there were many unknowns when it came to time to figure out college, loans, FAFSA, etc. The idea of taking on loans was scary. I am so grateful to have been chosen as a Bright Scholar. It truly is an honor. This scholarship has given me the freedom and peace of mind to focus on my studies.
What has been your biggest challenge since starting college?
My biggest challenge has been time management. There are a lot of activities to participate in in college. It is important to explore and pick a few that really interest you. On top of activities, you will have your school responsibilities. Using a planner has helped me a lot with my time management skills.
Who is your biggest inspiration and why?
My parents are my biggest inspiration. They have made a lot of sacrifices to give my sisters and me many opportunities they never had growing up. I thank them for enforcing the importance of having an education. I am here because of them, and everything I do is for them.
What campus activities do you like to participate in?
My friends and I always try to attend every event planned by the South Asian Student Alliance.