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Ana Rodriguez

Outliers - Ana Rodriguez


"Don't let anyone take away your dreams and make you change your goals; everyone has their own path."

The day a pandemic was declared in Mexico was the last day I was able to enter an OR, the last day I went to school, and from then on I had to leave everything I loved. It was a very difficult and discouraging time, until I discovered other opportunities.

I am Ana Rodríguez and I participated in the research on new brain cancer treatments at the Ballester-Esquenazi laboratory in Texas.

My story at Tec goes back to 2016 when I started secondary school. Afterwards, I studied at PrepaTec and am currently pursuing a Physician and Surgeon degree. The reason I decided to study medicine was because doctors saved my life before I was even born. I was a was a premature baby, born three months early, then I had several accidents and blood-related issues, which is why I had a lot of contact with these people who constantly did everything in their power to save my life.

- Later on I declared that I wanted to be like those people, I wanted to save someone else's life, just as they had saved mine.

My passion grew so much that from the very first week I sought to do more. This is how I found the person who is now my mentor, Dr. Enrique Cano, who inspired me and thanks to whom I now know that I want to specialize in neurosurgery. After several attempts at contacting him at the hospital, I managed to make an appointment with him and became his pre-med intern, attending surgeries and presenting cases. I was living my dream.

When the pandemic hit, all of this ended overnight. It was a very difficult time for me because I had to stop doing everything that I am passionate about. I stopped doing the things I could only physically do in Monterrey, I felt discouraged. That is, until I decided to do something about it and that was how I came up with the “Young Neurosurgeons Committee Webinar Series,” a webinar that emerged from the idea of holding virtual workshops with the best

neurosurgeons and doctors. To achieve this, I spoke to Tec and the American Association of Neurosurgeons.

Eventually the head of the Young Neurosurgeons group contacted me to say he was interested in my idea, and, truthfully, I never imagined it would turn into what it is today, a project involving over 44 countries. Students from all over the world participate generating thousands of visits, both live and on YouTube.

As a result of this project, I came up with more ideas and I talked to one of the bosses, Dr. Moucurgi. In my mind this idea would cure cancer. He referred me to Dr. Yoshua Esquenazi in Houston. I presented my plan to him an, although he did not like it, he replied that he wanted to collaborate with me because of my initiative and he wanted me to work with them on another project. That is how I ended up in the Ballester-Esquenazi laboratory, where we are changing the way brain cancer is perceived and thinking about new treatments, which I am now convinced will cure everything.

This is the reason why in a few years I want to become a physician and surgeon who conducts research, that is to say, who also helps patients from the laboratory, developing projects that could contribute to improving what has already been established in treatments. At the same time, I want to follow the example of my mentors, I want to donate my time to operating on patients who cannot afford surgery because brain tumors do not only occur in patients who have millions of dollars.

In hindsight, I believe that I have always had to solve all the challenges I faced in a different way. I see them as a stairway, always trying to go up one, be it one centimeter or three meters high. In my mind, I always try to advance little by little to become better and better.

I am an Outlier because my story started at Tec and ended up changing the world.

You too can be an Outlier! Tell us your story

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