Student first at BYU to receive medical scholarsh

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    By EELENG CHER

    BYU student Revina Largo heaved a sigh of relief and cried when she caught her name on the list of the recipients of the Udall scholarship — she was on her way to realizing her goal of becoming a doctor.

    “The scholarship will help me graduate from BYU,” said Largo, a senior from Albuquerque, N.M., majoring in zoology. The Morris K. Udall Scholarship Award is given in honor of the former Arizona congressman.

    “I was very nervous, relieved and excited. It was a last minute application, and I had to ask for an extension,” Largo said on finding out the good news in May.

    Largo plans on returning to the reservation in New Mexico as a doctor so that her people can see her example and realize “they can achieve their goals and raise their self-esteem,” according to a news release.

    “My people need doctors who are really there to help. Most of the doctors who serve at the Indian Health Services hospitals do not speak Navajo because they are not Indian. There is no tracking of patients because we always have to see different doctors,” Largo said about her decision to pursue a career in the medical field.

    Strong family support helped Largo strive for excellence in school.

    “My mom instilled within me the value of an education. She helped me realize I needed a college education to have a better lifestyle,” Largo said.

    According to a news release, Largo grew up on the Navajo reservation two hours west of Albuquerque, N.M. She was inspired by her older sister’s example to enter The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints’ Indian placement program in 1990. The program — offered through LDS Social Services — places teen-agers with foster families in cities where they will have greater access to academic opportunities.

    Thus, Largo came to BYU in 1994.

    Although it can be frustrating sometimes, “sharing and helping people to understand my culture was part of the responsibility of being an American Indian student in BYU,” Largo said.

    Since arriving in BYU, Largo has also served internships with the IHS hospital in New Mexico and the National Institute of Health in Baltimore, Md. The internships gave her the chance to dabble with gynecology and neuroscience.

    In addition, Largo has helped to organize the Harold A. Cedartree Memorial Powwow hosted annually at BYU in March, according to the news release.

    “Revina’s a personable go-getter who reaches out to other students,” said LaVay Talk, adviser to the Tribe of Many Feathers, in the news release. The Tribe of Many Feathers is the BYU club in charge of the powwow.

    Largo is the first BYU student to win the Udall scholarship and “we hope BYU will have many more to come,” said Steven E. Benzley, associate dean of General Education and Honors.

    Largo is preparing to apply to medical school and will be in Tucson, Ariz., to receive her award Aug. 6.

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