Family’s Journey Inspires Senior to Pursue Career in Medicine

Yorqui Morales sitting in front of Passion Puddle
Yorqui Morales is a Class of 2024 student in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences
Nick Romanenko/Rutgers University

Yorqui Morales had planned to follow in his father’s footsteps and study dentistry, but after starting college he found himself on a detour.

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“My father was a dentist in the Dominican Republic in the ‘70s and ‘80s before we all came here,” said Morales, who moved to the United States with his family when he was 9 months old. “He did not know how to transition to be able to practice in the United States, so that made adjusting to life a bit more difficult.”

Living in the Bronx until age 12, a series of moves brought Morales to North Brunswick right around high school. His parents advised him to go to community college as he fleshed out his plans for a career.

“My dad encouraged me to look into dentistry, and I started to take some biology and health classes, which I loved. As time went on, I realized my passion was for medicine and not dentistry. When I started learning more about anatomy, I learned of the different systems that the body has to make sure everything is balanced and in order, and I really found that fascinating and as I learned more, I decided to make the change. So, when the time came to decide where to go for my bachelor's, Rutgers was the easiest choice,” Morales says.

A Class of 2024 student in the School of Environmental and Biological Sciences (SEBS) majoring in biological sciences with a minor in public health, Morales found his calling in helping people not only through his studies, but his extracurricular activities. Among those was working was an agent for the Center for Adult Medicine, where he helps patients who are dealing with multiple chronic illnesses, giving special attention and care with medication, insurance and referrals.

“Being able to provide solutions for patients and to be able to help deal with discomfort and assist patients who have just left the hospital or emergency room and making sure they go to their follow-up appointments makes me feel like I am part of that person’s care team,” Morales explains. “Patient care is a multifaceted project and having support at every level can really make a difference in how and how quickly someone heals.”

Yorqui Morales sitting in front of Passion Puddle
Nick Romanenko/Rutgers University

In addition to volunteering at the adult medical Center for Adult Medicine, Morales also spends his time volunteering at a local soup kitchen and a local animal hospital.

“I love animals, but I could not do veterinary care. It would make me too sad to have to care for sick animals every day,” Morales says.

As graduation approaches, Morales credits his positive experience as a SEBS student to his success in his undergraduate career thus far. “SEBS was the best decision I ever made. The advisers were incredibly helpful and made me feel like they really wanted to guide me to the best path possible.”

Looking to the future, Morales was recently accepted into the master’s in public health program at the Rutgers School of Public Health and is actively studying for MCATs to apply to medical schools upon completion.

“I believe the best way to treat people is to find the real source of the problem, and that does not always stem from their body,” Morales says. “The public health contributors to health issues are just as important as the physical health issue. What good is fixing the physical issue when the environmental one will persist without proper intervention? I understand that a lot of places don't have the same issues, so I feel like the public health could really help me achieve what I want to achieve as a doctor.”

With intentions to specialize in cardiology, neurology or pediatrics, Morales knows regardless of which path he takes, he will be leaving a lasting impression on those he values most.

“A lot of people in my family didn't finish college, so I want to be able to show my nieces and nephews that they can do it. Your dreams are attainable, and the work is doable,” Morales says.