With a Heart for Service, Biology Student Volunteers in Community and on Campus

Sarah Flores | Undergraduate, Biology

It was a banner year for senior biology student Sarah Flores. She was accepted to multiple medical schools, named IUPUI homecoming queen and honored with the Top 100 Award and Plater Medallion.

All was achieved through persistence and the support of many people throughout campus. Not to mention an impressive resume filled with volunteer work, research, international studies and campus involvement. Still, classmates say it’s Flores’ heart for service that makes her stand out.

Sarah Flores in KenyaSarah Flores traveled to Kenya with the Honors College in 2012. She hopes to return as a medical student to work in the clinics.

“I’m kind of shy, but I think since coming to IUPUI I’ve been able to blossom,” she said.

Flores grew up in East Chicago, Ind., near Chicago (Portage High School), so she was drawn to IUPUI’s familiar urban setting. She also knew research programs and proximity to the med school would offer unparalleled opportunities to help her achieve her goal to become a doctor.

“There are just a lot of opportunities being in the life health science hub of Indy that drew me here,” she said.

Flores took advantage of the campus’s proximity to Riley Hospital for Children and volunteered at the Ronald McDonald House. She also volunteered at the Methodist Hospital emergency room. “I just had to walk across the street to do that—how awesome is that!”

As a Sam H. Jones Community Service Scholar, Flores volunteered with the Latino Youth Collective.

“I was able to help get Latino students in the community to want to reach for college and aspire to do great things with their lives,” she said.

Her community service also led her to involvement with College Mentors for Kids and IUPUI’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service.

Service has become something much more personal to Flores over the years.

Flores on Chavez DayAs a Community Service Scholar, Flores participated in IUPUI's César Chávez Day of Service.

“It’s about wanting to give back to the community that has poured so much into me,” she said. “I think about how all these wonderful things are happening to me, and it’s because of the support system I have here. People not only supported me, but challenged me to do things I never thought I could.”

Flores credits Corinne Ulbright, Ph.D., senior lecturer, as the faculty member who made the biggest impact on her. Ulbright served as Flores’ mentor for the freshman Summer Bridge program, and continued to encourage her throughout her undergraduate studies.

“From the first time I met her in Bridge, Sarah was obviously an outstanding student. She was clearly engaged in her college experience, eager to learn and loving the challenges that go with a science major,” Ulbright said. “Even before that first semester was over, I could see her community spirit undergo a huge growth spurt, leading her to assume various campus responsibilities and offer her help where it was most needed.”

Flores plans to pursue pediatric medicine because of her love of children. She started attending Indiana University School of Medicine in Fall 2014.