Sophomore veterinary student celebrates U.S. citizenship

Guiliana Miranda with certificate of citizenship.

Sophomore veterinary student Giuliana Miranda with her certificate of citizenship, presented during a ceremony held Dec. 19 at the federal courthouse in Gainesville. (Photo courtesy of Guiliana Miranda)

By Sarah Carey

The joy in Giuliana Miranda’s face is obvious as she proudly holds her new certificate of U.S. citizenship and beams for a friend’s camera in the middle of a bright and busy federal courtroom Dec. 19 in downtown Gainesville.

“I believe becoming a citizen opens more opportunities for me in order to achieve my goals and dreams, and in return, give back to others,” said Miranda, a sophomore University of Florida veterinary student and a native of Peru.

Miranda had resided in Connecticut, where she moved to be with her father in 2008, for several years and attended undergraduate school at the University of Connecticut prior to applying and being accepted to veterinary school at UF.

“I fell in love with UF, first by how welcomed I felt during the interview, then by the diversity of the school and the different career options presented to me,” Miranda said.

Although Miranda’s family was unable to be with her at the citizenship ceremony, two classmates, Erica Moore and Diana Alvarez, accompanied their friend to provide support, along with college admissions coordinator Lynnette Chaparro.

Following the ceremony, which featured the Gainesville Harmony Show Chorus singing two songs and a speech from a UF College of Medicine professor of urology who became a U.S. citizen three months ago, Miranda flew to Connecticut to spend Christmas with her parents and sisters. Her mother, who still lives in Peru, flew in as well for the family holiday celebration.

In Peru, veterinary school is a five-year-plus program, and students who pass an admissions test enter directly out of high school. Miranda completed two years and one semester of classes at the Cayetano Heredia Peruvian University College of Veterinary Medicine, through which she had the opportunity to visit local communities as part of labs required through her classes.

She saw firsthand the importance of animals as a source of food, clothing and daily income.

“I was able to witness the impact of food animals in communities with low resources,” Miranda said. “Additionally, I participated in several research projects with the department of animal science and pathobiology at UConn.”

That experience afforded Miranda a greater appreciation of the important collaborations between veterinarians and researchers.

“I worked at large and well-equipped labs under the supervision of excellent scientists at UConn,” Miranda said. “It was enlightening to me because I realized the importance of the role veterinarians play in research as well as the significant contribution veterinarians make to science.”

While at UConn, she met a professor from the University of Massachusetts/Amherst who founded a non-profit organization that regularly visits the district of Nunoa in Peru,  known for its alpacas. Human doctors also visit the district, Miranda said.

“I admire all the work and effort put into this project, and it has inspired me to do something similar in other communities, both in Latin America and in the U.S.,” she said.

As far as her future career, however, Miranda says she is open to several possibilities. She’s interested in shelter medicine, food animal medicine and epidemiology, and says her goal is to educate people in underserved areas such as farming and local communities.

“I’m learning more each day in order to make the best career selection,” said Miranda, who presently belongs to the shelter, business and surgery-oriented student clubs at UF. She also serves as treasurer of the Food Animal Club.

“I like to be involved with diverse experiences offered outside of the classroom and believe they are great opportunities for hands-on learning,” she said.

So for Miranda, Dec. 19 will not be remembered as the day after the last UF CVM sophomore class final examination, but as the day she officially became a citizen of the United States.

“The most important thing I will always remember is that I was one of 37 people becoming citizens from 30 different countries,” Miranda said. “What a great way to show how this country welcomes diversity, and I was so happy to be a part of it.”


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January 2014

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