Tlalli Moya-Smith ’20: Preparing for a Career of Service

TlalliAztlan Moya-Smith ’20.

For TlalliAztlan “Tlalli” Moya-Smith, a confluence of personal interests and passions, all rooted in her family history, has made Geisel a perfect fit.

“My grandfather was a bracero, or farm worker,” she explains. “And my father and mother actually met doing farm worker aid in Texas.” Growing up in a Mexican-American family with parents committed to improving the lives of others, Moya-Smith knew she too wanted to pursue a career of service to people in need. But she also loved science.
“Medicine just combined all of that into one,” says Moya-Smith, who will be the first physician in her family. She’d seen the effects of rural poverty on the health of people in Latino communities. “I found out that Geisel had these really great programs for rural communities, and I knew I wanted to be a part of that.”

When Moya-Smith is not in class or studying, she’s helping farm workers in Vermont and New Hampshire access healthcare and reaching out to Latino communities in the region. As co-president of the Latino Medical Student Association at Geisel, she also mentors undergraduates at Dartmouth.

“I am a firm believer that if you’re not taking action to make your community a better place then you’re doing something wrong,” says Moya-Smith.

She’s also quick to add that none of this would be possible without the scholarship support she receives. Even with scholarship aid from Geisel, Moya-Smith will graduate with a medical school debt of almost $200,000. “That’s daunting,” she admits, especially for someone who plans to work in poor, underserved communities.

“Donors whom I’ve never met are instrumental in my life. For that, I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart.”   

—Tlalli Moya-Smith ’20