Raymundo Alfaro-Aco '12

Raymundo Alfaro-Aco

Hometown: Lancaster, PA
High School: J.P. McCaskey High School
Major: Biochemistry
Possible Career: Medicine or medical research

Ray is active with Enie, the campus Spanish literary magazine, and TOPSoccer, a program in which Swarthmore students meet weekly to play soccer with mentally and physically challenged children. TOPSoccer was founded by Evans Scholars Ryan Kuker '06 and Rhiannon Graybill '06. Ray has also been involved with SwatStand, an anti-genocide organization, and Enlace, the campus Latino organization. He traveled to Nairobi, Kenya one summer to volunteer with the Kenya Network of Women with AIDS (KENWA). He worked in the Korogocho slum and helped provide medicine, information and food to women with HIV/AIDS. The organization also feeds children from Korogocho.

In His Own Words

Describe yourself in 5 words or less.

"Inquisitive, ambitious, open-minded, determined"

What has been the most valuable Evans Scholars program experience for you?

Raymundo Alfaro-Aco
Raymundo Alfaro-Aco

"Volunteering with the Kenya Network of Women with AIDS (KENWA) in Nairobi. There, I had the opportunity to become very good friends with other volunteers, and together we tried to help people living with AIDS in one of the city's largest slums, as well as work with street children. Overall, I was able to experience a completely different place, from the natural wonders to the very diverse culture, and it was something that I couldn't have done without the support from the Evans Scholars Program."

What subject do you want to explore deeply?

"Biochemistry. I have always been amazed by the complexity of living systems, and I believe that exploring the biochemical processes of such systems can open the doors to understanding the relationships that organisms, including humans, have with their surroundings."

What impact do you want to have on the world?

"I have been exposed to the conditions that diseases such as malaria and AIDS cause in communities around the world, and I want to help tackle such diseases from a biochemical perspective. I want to better understand the cellular and molecular interactions that impact human beings on a tangible scale, and hence help provide the tools necessary to alleviate those problems."

Name a person you most admire.

"From an academic standpoint, I admire Swarthmore alumnus Christian B. Anfinsen '37. In 1972, he became the first Swarthmore graduate to be awarded a Nobel Prize for his work on protein research. Since then, his ideas have immensely enhanced our understanding of the relationship between the primary structure of a protein and its function. Knowing this only encourages me to keep my goals high and to try my best here at Swarthmore."

What are you proudest of in your life so far?

"I am really proud of the fact that I grew up in Mexico, and within 4 years of moving to the United States I was able to earn a bilingual International Baccalaureate Diploma as well as an acceptance to Swarthmore College. I come from a very modest background, and moving to the United States has opened the doors to so many different opportunities, including experiencing different parts of the world and attending a school that will provide me with the necessary tools to make an impact and be successful in whatever career I decide to pursue."