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Gabriela Betanzos


Strong support and love for and from her grandparents sparked an interest in neuroscience for Gabriela Betanzos ’22.

“I’ve wanted to go into neuroscience since before I can even remember; my grandparents were diagnosed with different neurological conditions, and I have accompanied them on countless neurologist appointments since middle school, which was the initial spark of my interest. I got into a summer program at a medical school while in high school, where we got to dissect cadavers and hold a human brain and spinal cord. I later shadowed a neurosurgeon multiple times in the operating room,” notes Betanzos. “All these factors really solidified my decision to go into neuroscience and ultimately specialize in neurosurgery after medical school. I have spent a total of 102 hours shadowing in the OR (operating room), and my deeply rooted interest in neuroscience always has me coming back to the specialty of neurosurgery. I know it is a long and rough journey, but it has always been my passion, and I will stop at nothing to get there.”

Why Holy Cross College

Her journey begins at Holy Cross College through the Driscoll Scholars Program. The Birmingham, Michigan native begins her college career at Holy Cross and finishes her degree at the University of Notre Dame. She plans to study neuroscience behavior and Arabic.

“I was really drawn to the 2+2 curriculum between Holy Cross and Notre Dame because I have grown tremendously in academic confidence being able to easily connect one-on-one with professors at Holy Cross, which has better prepared me to transfer at the end of this semester,” said Betanzos.

Campus involvement

“I am a part of two different psychology research projects under the amazing Dr. Fox, which I have thoroughly enjoyed. It is wonderful to be part of such enthusiastic teams and be truly immersed and expand my research mindset, so I am very grateful to be involved,” notes Betanzos. “I am secretary of the Biology Club at Holy Cross, which I have been a member of since freshman year. There were a lot of meetings last year with very strong biology/chemistry students who gave us tips on how to succeed in these classes, which was incredibly helpful. I am also the secretary of the Arabic Club at Notre Dame and part of the Compassionate Care in Medicine Club and NDNeuro Club, which are incredibly impactful and helpful on my premed journey.”

Impactful moment

“A memorable moment in my life happened while volunteering at the Holy Cross Village, a role originally adopted for the IDST 250 Common Good class here at Holy Cross, but I have since continued after the class ended. A resident with memory problems was having a particularly hard day, so I gave her a mini manicure, painted her nails, looked at her old family photos, and joked around with her for over two hours in an effort to cheer her up. She usually couldn’t remember people’s names for more than an hour, but when I came to visit her the next week, her face lit up, and she was ecstatic to hang out again. A nurse later told me she had mentioned me every day that week, which reinforced how important solidarity, the common good, and treating all people with kindness and a genuine desire to make a connection really is,” said Betanzos.

Future plans

“After graduation, I definitely plan on going into medical school. I have wanted to be a doctor my entire life, and my studies at both Holy Cross and Notre Dame have developed my critical thinking skills and empathy for others tremendously, which are necessary for practicing physicians,” said Betanzos.

Student Gabriela Betanzos ’22

“I was really drawn to the 2+2 curriculum between Holy Cross and Notre Dame because I have grown tremendously in academic confidence being able to easily connect one-on-one with professors at Holy Cross, which has better prepared me to transfer at the end of this semester.”