Kristina Flores: Artist, Scientist and Future Physician

Rotary Club of El Paso scholarship helps Foster School of Medicine student follow her dreams

Kristina Flores’ path to medical school wasn’t a conventional one, even though the spark of interest was lighted when she was young.

With a talent for painting, Flores attended Boston University and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in painting.

Kristina Flores

Kristina Flores

“I became an art teacher, but the feeling was still there to pursue something in the medical field,” Flores said. “I applied to the TTUHSC El Paso Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, and I was pretty honest when I applied, telling them I wasn’t 100 percent sure if I wanted to pursue a Ph.D. or if I wanted to go into medicine.”

By the end of her first year in graduate school, she knew she wanted to apply for medical school at the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine. She earned her Master of Science from the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences in 2018 and was accepted into the Paul L. Foster School of Medicine class of 2022.

“I’ve always wanted to do psychiatry, because I lost both of my parents when I was very young,” Flores said. “I think around middle school was when I started talking about it more with other people—losing my parents, and what it meant to me to grow up without them. I would like to help others who struggle with similar losses and who are perhaps not as fortunate as I was growing up.”

On the path to becoming a doctor, Flores is grateful for the Rotary Club of El Paso scholarship that has made it possible to pursue her dream.

“I had a lot of ups and downs on my path to get here, and to have the Rotary Club give me the opportunity that they did has meant a lot to me,” Flores said. “I was able to attend one of their meetings around Thanksgiving time and thank them in person. It meant so much to me to do so.”

With her first year of medical school wrapping up, Flores said it has definitely been a challenge, but she is steadfast in her goals. She wants to graduate from medical school and be a child psychiatrist in El Paso, even if she does her residency elsewhere.

With her experience on a nontraditional path to graduate school and medical school, Flores has learned some lessons she can pass on.

“My advice would be to go for it, because you never know where the road is going to take you once you commit to going back to school,” Flores said. “Also, don’t give up your passions. My dream is to be a doctor, but I also love to paint. Everybody has a passion separate from school, and I think it’s important to feed that passion to get you through it all.”