Ivis Casillas
Fall 2015
Interpreter Team
Spanish Interpreter

Member since: Fall 2015

When I was a child my mother owned a set of Spanish medical encyclopedias that I found in our living room bookcase. I remember looking through the pages and finding several images of human anatomy and common medical conditions. While I couldn’t understand the medical terminology, I remember feeling intrigued by these gigantic books filled with information. While I thought about being a doctor when I was a young girl, it always felt more like a dream than a possibility. I believe this is partly due to the fact that even to this day none of my doctors have ever been Hispanic. As I grew older, that dream became more distant and almost non-existent. Once in high school, my life began to head in a bad direction. Growing up in East Oakland I found myself surrounded by a harsh environment that I found difficult to cope with. My life’s stresses affected me deeply and I began drinking, doing poorly in school, and almost dropped out.  In my senior year of high school a counselor for a vocational college recruited me for a veterinary technician program. I began working at a small veterinary hospital where many of our clients spoke limited English. I was the only person who spoke Spanish and could interpret for our clients. It was through these experiences that I realized the importance of being able to communicate in one’s native language. It became clear to me that one of the most fulfilling aspects of my job was being able to help these people. Though my path has had several detours, I’m confident in my decision to pursue a career in medicine. I’m excited to start my role in SCOPE as an interpreter because it will allow me to work firsthand with the Hispanic community in a medical setting.