Amanda Rizkalla

Meet Amanda, the Mentor

When we met Amanda through her Live Más Scholarship submission video in 2016, she was a high school senior and lab assistant fresh from her studies at Harvard Summer School. Now a sophomore at Stanford University, Amanda’s work as a Diversity Associate with the Admissions Office and Program Manager with the Stanford Medical Youth Science Program has helped her realize her true underlying passion—the people she has served.
Scroll to read how Amanda’s passion has evolved during her time at Stanford University.

Amanda's original application video

Using Her Research Background to Realize Her Passion for People

Amanda was an incoming high school senior when she was accepted to the Harvard Summer School Program. This opportunity, to live and study chemistry on Harvard’s campus, served as the beginning of her professional studies and a chance to assert her independence as a young adult. With a summer of research experience under her belt, Amanda was accepted into Stanford University starting in fall 2016.
As a freshman, she became a counselor for the Stanford Medical Youth Science Program, a program for first-generation and low-income high school students in the community to take science courses on-campus. Through this venture, Amanda discovered what energized her work wasn’t centered on medicine, but more on the people she served. “I realized what I enjoyed the most in this experience was my interactions with the students.”

Her Experience at Stanford

During her freshman year, Amanda noticed herself gravitating towards her English courses—a factor she attributes to her natural inclination for creativity. Even in her research labs, she always tried to incorporate creativity by approaching the data in a way that was “more compelling to the audience.” She recognized that storytelling, whether through data or an article in her school’s newspaper, was the thread that weaved her experiences together.
Today, Amanda works at the Stanford Admissions Office as a Diversity Associate and liaison to the Diversity and First-Gen office. She continues her work with the Stanford Medical Youth Science Program as a program manager assisting other counselors. When she’s not working, Amanda can be found studying at the El Centro Chicano y Latino Student Center or writing for the Stanford Daily as a columnist. To Amanda, “writing is a means of connecting people” and she wants to share the narratives of the community to whom she is dedicated.

Supporting Low-Income and First-Generation Students through Creative Writing

Amanda’s ultimate dream is to teach creative writing to adults or students from at-risk communities. “People go to great lengths to understand each other and be understood, and some of these kids don’t have the toolkit to do it since creative writing isn’t as widely taught as science or math. Teaching creative writing to adults or at-risk students is giving them the ability to express themselves.” Whether Amanda becomes a high school teacher or continues along her journalism path, she expects that her work will always tie back to mentoring this student community. With a strong work ethic and desire to serve, the opportunities are endless for Amanda.