Disclaimer: Benjamin Juarez was a member of The Prodigy.

Benjamin Juarez, the ASUCM Internal Vice President, was born in the San Fernando Valley in 1996. He was born into a middle class family that consisted of his father, mother, and younger sister, who also attends UC Merced. He worked hard with his parents growing up, but he is grateful for all his parents have done for him and for allowing him his freedom. The high school he attended was predominantly white; however, Juarez formed a very diverse group of friends. Having a passion in healthcare since he was young, he developed into a young man who’s driven to improving and advocating for equality in healthcare for all.

Since becoming a Bobcat at UC Merced, Juarez has made strides in pursuing his goal of passing and creating legislation for universal healthcare, as well as his ultimate goal of owning his own hospital someday. He began his college career as a human biology major, then switched to molecular biology while carrying a particular interest in math modeling and computational biology. These interests were expanded upon in his undergraduate research working with professors Mark Sistrom and Suzanne Sindi, each of whom complete research dealing with either computational biology or applied mathematics. He has also been involved in politics through internship experiences over the summer. The internships dealt with health disparities, universal health care, public health and exposed him to assemblymen, senators, doctors, and lawyers who are pushing to make a change; a change to which Juarez has already worked hard to contribute to. In addition to research and internships, he has also been involved with The Prodigy as a writer and ASUCM (Associated Students of UC Merced) as a senator and now the Internal Vice President.

Becoming the ASUCM Internal Vice President, Juarez is determined to make a positive change in the UC Merced community in appreciation to those who voted for him and believed that he could. He began last semester by having one-on-one meetings with each senator and promoting a deeper collaboration between all of them as well as a smoother transition into Fall 2017, “work with not against.” He aims to fix the randomness of voting, be an advocate for students, unify all the offices of ASUCM, allow for more conversation between students and senators, and create a mental health initiative. The mental health initiative would construct a program that is similar to other UC campuses, would allow for students to more effectively help themselves as well as others, and would be more present in current initiatives. Juarez hopes for it to take effect in the Spring semester. Overall, he is excited to perform the hard work needed to better this University and ASUCM, therefore giving back to the students. “I want to please those who supported me and those who didn’t.”

Photo Credit: ASUCM