SAGE mentor credits TU for shaping who she is
When Nadia Morales started at Towson University in 2017, her mom signed her up for the Students Achieve Goals through Education (SAGE) program, even though neither knew what it was.
She had no idea joining SAGE would change her life and shape who she is: the proud daughter of immigrants, her father is from El Salvador and her mother is from Suriname. After graduating this past spring she is now the first in her family to graduate college.
“My parents were super supportive, but they [didn’t] know the American college system. As a first-generation college student, SAGE helped me fill in the gaps,” Morales ’22 says. “They were there to ask me what I need, who can we call, do I know about financial aid—things that helped me better understand college life.”
Morales earned a bachelor’s degree in biology this past spring, with a concentration in cell and molecular biology, because her goal is to attend medical school and specialize in pediatrics with a focus on neonatal and maternal health.
During her time at TU, Morales interned at Park Pediatrics and volunteered in the neonatal intensive care unit at MedStar Franklin Square Medical Center and in the post-anesthesia care unit at GBMC.
She also participated in charity work, including this past term, when she and a group of friends cooked dinner for more than 80 Ronald McDonald House Charities of Maryland families.
As a third grader, Morales repeatedly told her teacher that she wanted to become a doctor. Now, she wants to see more women of color in medicine.
“There are not a lot of doctors that look like me, and that gave me the drive and motivation to pursue this,” she says. “This is something I genuinely love to do.”
Morales has other passions.
For the last five years, she worked as a beauty adviser and certified makeup artist at Sephora in Towson Town Center. That interest extended to a desire to compete in the Miss USA beauty pageant. Morales had a brush with royalty before: She was crowned Miss Towson during the 2020 Homecoming ceremony.
Early this spring, Morales saw a sponsored ad on Instagram about applying for Miss USA. A few days after she applied, she was told she was a state finalist.
Morales competed for the Maryland crown this past May. While she didn’t win, she has no regrets.
“I told myself I was going to do this, and I was going to go all out,” Morales says. “I know I did everything I could, and I’m satisfied.”
She is spending the summer searching for a job in the medical field and studying for her MCAT exams.
Morales credits Towson University for preparing her for wherever life takes her.
“I found my community here, and, when I reflect, I’m so grateful I decided to come [here],” she says. “I feel prepared to be a confident, young woman of color going into the science field. I’m ready to take a leap of faith and see what happens.”