'RISE gave me the power to stand out'
Meet RISE Scholar Alizeh Rizvi.
Over the summer, Mayo Clinic and the Rochester branch of the NAACP held a first-of-its-kind collaboration with the RISE High and RISE Up programs to connect successful mentors with Black and underrepresented high school and college students with potential.
More than 175 students vied for the 40 available spots. The four-week programs provided the RISE scholars opportunities to explore careers in health care and business, while also learning leadership and public speaking skills. Alizeh Rizvi earned one of the coveted spots in the RISE program and shared
Tell us about you and your family.
I am a senior at Mayo High School. I have one little brother who is in eighth grade at John Adams. My dad is currently located in Houston, Texas, because of work, so my mom, brother and I will be moving to Texas after I graduate.
How did you find out about the RISE program?
My dad was the one who told me about it. Before he took a new job, he worked at Mayo. He told me about the opportunity and suggested I apply. I was skeptical at first because it was super selective, but the rest is history.
What was most memorable about the RISE experience?
Meeting all these incredible, like-minded people. I made some of my closest friendships in this program. I also loved all the community-based activities we did. Going on the podcast was the coolest thing ever.
What does participating in the program mean to you?
It means opportunity and equality. Usually, my opportunities are limited because of either popularity or other external means, but this program gave me a voice and made me feel seen. It empowered me to follow my dreams because, despite popularity, anything really is possible.
Would you recommend the program to others? Why or why not?
One-hundred percent, yes. It was the best experience of my life. You meet so many amazing people, establish so many connections, and experience lots of new things. But it's actually more fun than you'd think. I thought it was going to be all strict and business, but we had more fun than anything else.
What do you plan to pursue for a career?
I want to go pre-med in college and ultimately become either a neurologist or an oncologist.
What do you like most about Rochester? Least?
I like how everyone knows almost everyone. I knew about half of my cohorts before the program even began. However, I don't like that Rochester has such a small Pakistani community (which is what I am), because it's hard to fit in when there's nobody else like you. RISE gave me the power to stand out amongst people that come from similar situations as me, and that was really beautiful.
Do you plan to remain in Rochester after college? Why or why not?
I might come back to Rochester, I might not. I haven't decided yet. Obviously, having grown up in Rochester, I'm more comfortable here than I would be in a big city. However, there's less opportunity for growth here. I guess I'll just have to see where life takes me.
What is one thing most people would be surprised to know about you?
One thing people would be surprised to know about me is that I am the first person in my family’s history to be born in the United States and be a U.S. citizen. Also, I'm originally from Chicago.