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Maria Isabel Perez




Isabel Perez started working at Bravo since September 2007. She was born and raised in Prineville, Oregon and helped her parents with the farm growing mint and wheat. As a young girl, she was always interested in horses and wanted to become a veterinarian. In 8th grade, she began to do volunteer work at the big animal veterinary clinic and had seen many interesting things: castration of bulls, arthritic horses being put to sleep, feeding calves antibiotics, reparation of a ewe's uterus that had expelled out with a lamb's birth, etc.

Isabel's younger years were interesting. She and her brother would race on dirt bikes, would go sledding while her dad would cut their Christmas tree and her mom made sure there was enough hot chocolate. They used to swim in the canal and would have to pick the leeches off their skin and shoot ground squirrels with the .22 rifle so the crops wouldn't be destroyed and shoot the coyotes off their property while their dog would chase them away and come back with parts of dead deer. They would chase and catch lizards, make snow forts to have snowball fights, and kill bats and rattlesnakes that were around the house.

Also at that time, she was involved with the 4-H club for 7 years making sewing and knitting projects winning first place, reserve grand champion, and grand champions in the County and State Fair her last few years in high school. Isabel was also in gymnastics, ballet, piano, swimming, and the drill team. She graduated from Crook County High School in 1983 and had been in honors classes since 8th grade. She had also won 1st place in the Oregon State Spanish exams her senior year. She attended Central Oregon Community College for a year in Bend, Oregon right after the birth of her first son.

After moving to Los Angeles in 1985, Isabel attended East Los Angeles Occupational Center for x-ray school and received high honors. She worked as an x-ray technician and medical assistant since 1985 to make money for college. She graduated from East Los Angeles College in 1989 and was on the Dean's List. Soon after, she had a daughter. She then went to California State University, Los Angeles; first as a nursing student, then switched her major to Spanish, and finally as a pre-medical student. Her last 3 years there were difficult, but the most rewarding. Isabel was involved with many clubs: Accion, Cal State NeXT Users Computer Group, Chicanos for Creative Medicine (she was secretary for 2 years), Health Careers Opportunity Program, and the Howard Hughes Mobile Science Demonstration Program.

She also had to work 3 jobs to support her family and pay for college. This included working for Masad Arbid, MD, the pediatrician at San Mateo Medical; Spectrum Industrial Medial in Commerce; Technimed-Vernon Occupational Medicine: and the Minority Biomedical Research Support program as a student research assistant for Professor Roger R. Bowers. The lab provided data on a superoxide radical environment of melanocytes using tissue cultures from rooster feathers of homozygous and heterozygous breeds to study the cause of vitiligo.Through the MBRS program, Isabel was able to attend the PanAmerican Society for Pigment Cell Research conferences in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania in 1994 and Kansas City, Missouri in 1995. She graduated in 1996 with a Bachelor of Science in Biological Sciences with her third child, a 4 month-old daughter.

Isabel then moved back to Oregon with her parents and worked for 2 years at Madras Medical Group with Suzanne El-Attar, MD, a family practitioner, then 1 year with Ronald Sproat, MD, a general surgeon. While there, she volunteered as a mentor in the OLI (Oregon Leadership Institute) program under OCHA (Oregon Council for Hispanic Advancement) to Hispanic high school students in Madras and provided support and encouragement for the students to continue on to higher education. She also provided health information on the radio in Prineville and helped provide information about HIV and AIDS to Spanish speakers in Alcoholics Anonymous in Madras.

Isabel decided to become a teacher and moved back to Los Angeles to work at Thomas Alva Edison Middle School in South Central teaching 7th grade health and life science and 8th grade physical science from October 2000 to June 2007. While there, she was the TUPE Coordinator for 5 years and the Science Department Chair for the last 3 years. She graduated from National University, Los Angeles with a Master of Arts Degree in Education with a CLAD emphasis in 2003 with a 3-year old, her 4th child.

Isabel is a mother of 4: Jimmy, 26, Bianca, 19, Cande, 13, and Aurelio, 9. Jimmy's wife, Tanya, had Isabel's first grandson, Ephraim Gabriel. Family is very important to her and spends as much time as she can with her children and tries to provide them with opportunities to venture into new arenas by taking them to museums, parks, and zoos. She still continues to knit and sew and is very involved with her church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. The scifi channel has most of her favorite shows and she likes classic rock and '80's music.

Isabel is eager to share her experiences in medicine for those who are interested in a health career. She is currently studying to get a teaching credential in physics.



Biology: pre-med