From a young age, Arhian grew up wanting to be a surgeon. His grandfather encouraged his studies and knew the government would provide medical education for free. But his mother and stepfather sought a better life in the U.S., uprooting the small family when Arhian was eight years old.
“I didn’t forget about being a surgeon,” Arhian recalls, “but I left it behind.” Though both his parents had college degrees from Cuba, his mother worked at a daycare and his stepfather juggled jobs as a mechanic and janitor in the U.S. Yet Arhian excelled in the classroom, mastering English, and also on the baseball field. His high school counselor encouraged him to apply for scholarships. Ahrian found the St. David’s Neal Kocurek Scholarship and applied. Though his application was one of more than 500, his accomplishments in and out of the classroom meant he was a perfect fit for the scholarship program.
A St. David’s Foundation Kocurek Scholar, Arhian is now a Biology major at the University of Texas at Austin, with a long-term goal to be a doctor. In addition to an eight-year, $7,500 per year scholarship to study medicine, he was matched with a mentor in the healthcare field who provides encouragement.
“If I hadn’t gotten this scholarship, maybe I’d be working a low-wage job,” Arhian says. “But I wouldn’t stay stagnant. I’m always trying to improve myself. I get that quality from my grandfather.”
See all the photos from our 2018 St. David’s Neal Kocurek Scholarship Awards Dinner