I was born and raised in San Francisco. Both of my parents are immigrants and have an 8th grade education. After the 8th grade, they had to get out and work to support their families. They don’t speak any English, so I learned to translate for them at a very young age, from phone bills to conversations with our neighbors. Learning two languages has allowed me to become the bridge that connects two worlds together.
I was born in a small town called Murrieta, California, but soon afterwards moved to an island village off the coast of Belize known as San Pedro Town. A fishing village popular with tourists for its laid back environment and beautiful weather, I grew accustomed to that lifestyle before I moved back to the states around the beginning of my middle school years.
I am double majoring in Neurobiology, Physiology, and Behavior as well as Psychology. I am also an undergraduate research assistant in the Bales lab at the California National Primate Research Center and am starting a clinical internship at Sutter Sacramento.
Not many have the pleasure of being able to say they were raised in a barn! Yet, here I am. From around the age of 5 to 16, I lived in a refurbished barn on a small plot of farmland in southern California, packed in with my five siblings. We grew corn, peas, and other crops, which we harvested together as a family. My siblings and I would bond and play by sprinting through the tall fields of corn, loving the feel of the earth pounding against our bare feet and the burn of our lungs as we ran and laughed all the while.
My parents were refugees from the Sri Lankan Civil War. There was a genocide in our home country for much of the 80s and 90s, and Canada took thousands of victims, ethnic Tamils, in to protect them. My parents were both among these Tamil refugees, and they met and married in Toronto in the 90s. My sister and I were born in Scarborough, Ontario, and we moved to Gilroy, California when I was two, where my parents had my little brother.
My parents immigrated to the United States as young adults with the intention of one day giving their children a better life than back home. My two brothers and I were raised in Vallejo, California- a location once known for being the first decent-sized city in California to file for bankruptcy. My parents were stressed by the demands of living in California -- they both worked two jobs for the majority of my childhood -- and became alcoholics. My home life was unstable, and to this day things have not gotten much better there.