Meet Yoselin Moetamedi Garcia
Yoselin Moetamedi Garcia’s home is Maclovio Rojas, an autonomous community near Tijuana, Baja California. Called Oda by family and friends, Yoselin feels proud of her half Mexican and half Iranian heritage.
“They’re both very different cultures, but you get to see that there’s still overlap,” she says. “Despite our differences, we share so much in common.”
People from both cultures want many of the same things—to support their families and find respect and success. Yoselin adds that Mexico and Iran also have different, but equally delicious, cuisines.
Fun fact: She loves puzzles and once assembled a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle in just two days. (The endeavor cost her and her brother some sleep.)
Volunteers Bring Support and Inspiration
Yoselin, part of the Charles Drew University (CDU)/UCLA Medical Education Program, grew up in a neglected area. This inspired a childhood passion and respect for medicine, which eventually made her interested in becoming a doctor.
“We had no access to healthcare. To get medication and healthcare assistance, we depended on volunteer doctors.”
Arriving every week to serve Maclovio Rojas, these volunteer doctors remain larger than life in Yoselin’s adult memory.
“They were amazing. They were kind, they were generous, and they advocated for us. They also served as role models,” she says.
“They showed me a path to becoming a physician and that being a physician was more than just taking care of people. It was more than healing individuals. It was about bringing change and advocating for people.”
Inspired, Yoselin began observing her community through an aspiring physician’s eyes. What help might mitigate the issues she saw every day?
Her community lacked essential outside assistance. While the residents worked hard to support each other, ensuring basic safety and survival occupied all their time. No one within the community had the extra time or resources to enact large-scale change.
“I had the means to get out of Maclovio Rojas, give a voice to my community, and advocate for them.”
Yoselin plans to leverage her medical expertise to create a platform. She wants to share her community’s story, and above all, remind the world that everyone from Maclovio Rojas is human.
“Every single person who lives there has a story of overcoming, of will, of hopes, of dreams, of ambitions,” she says. “We all deserve a shot at them.”
The Value of Opportunities and Resources
Reflecting on her own story, Yoselin feels lucky to have enjoyed opportunities that helped her get to medical school.
“I have privileges that many individuals don’t have. People say hard work, determination, and resilience are the keys to success,” she says. “While they are essential qualities to get somewhere in life, they are not enough.”
Living in Maclovio Rojas, where daily life itself is hard work, taught Yoselin this lesson. Many people mistakenly believe her community lacks ambition. She says the residents are the most hardworking, determined individuals she’s ever encountered. They simply lack resources.
“Simple things, which we sometimes take for granted, could make a huge difference in shaping our future. Success is a combination of internal skills and external resources, and for many, the latter is beyond our control,” she says.
“How can someone worry about achieving greater things or focus on learning when they’re worried about their home, their family, and even their next meal?”
As an autonomous community, Maclovio Rojas receives no government support. Resources many people take for granted, clean water and public schools, for example, must be established and maintained by the community.
Growing up, Yoselin helped build the school she attended. The school couldn’t provide transportation services, so her father woke up early every day to make sure she got there on time.
With help from her supportive family, Yoselin had the opportunity to move to the United States at the age of sixteen. She then had access to resources that allowed her to leverage hard work and resilience toward her goal of becoming a doctor.
“When I came to America, it was a pool of opportunities,” she says, emphasizing the contrast in daily life in Maclovio Rojas and America.
Pursuing Medical Education
Yoselin started her undergraduate education at a community college, where she volunteered to gain the skills and knowledge she would need as a future medical student and clinician. She found her time as a hospice worker particularly memorable.
“I think that was really fulfilling, offering my time to guide patients through difficult moments with their families. Just being present to acknowledge someone at the end of their journey was deeply saddening but beautiful too,” she says.
“It’s such a privilege to be with someone and see how they process everything. You learn so much about medicine, but I think you learn more about human interaction.”
Yoselin transferred to the University of California, Davis to finish her undergraduate studies in microbiology. At UC Davis, she fell in love with research and embraced every learning opportunity that got her into a lab.
Giving and Receiving Support
After graduating from UC Davis, Yoselin secured a job as a scientist at Johnson & Johnson, an American pharmaceutical company. In addition to providing invaluable learning opportunities, the job offered the stability she needed to adopt her thirteen-year-old brother. She brought him to live with her in the United States.
“Being able to adopt my brother and to take care of him is a dream come true. It’s something that makes me still pinch myself sometimes. I’m in medical school. I was able to help my family.”
Yoselin’s well-deserved pride comes with equal gratitude for the kind people who’ve helped her throughout her journey. She remembers many moments when someone offered support—whether it was a computer or a job—that helped her pass a hurdle she couldn’t alone.
After overcoming so many obstacles and uncertainties in her own journey, she has a reassuring message for anyone applying to medical school and feeling defeated, uncertain, or overwhelmed.
“You’re always enough. We all deserve a shot at our dreams and our goals.”
Creating Change, One Step at a Time
Being a medical student carries deep meaning for Yoselin.
“I have opportunities very few people have. There are so many paths for medical students—so much freedom.”
Medical students can be general practitioners, open their own private clinics, or even join Doctors Without Borders and travel the world, making an impact.
“You can choose the way you want to impact the lives of many people, for many generations.”
Yoselin hasn’t yet chosen her particular area of impact, her medical specialty, but her overarching dream is to open clinics.
“I want to become a doctor and practice, but I also have a nonprofit. Right now we focus on helping individuals with food and clothing, but my dream is to create clinics and offer services in Maclovio Rojas and other areas around the world in similar situations.”
When Yoselin feels overwhelmed by all the changes she wants to see and create, she reminds herself to take one step at a time. Filled with calm determination, she moves forward on her path.