My name is Daniela Valle, and I grew up in Hood River, Oregon as the child of migrant farmworkers. The valleys that made up my backyard are peppered with orchards of pear, peach and apple trees. As I grew older, I began to understand the important relationship between my family, the farmland, the community, and the economy. Migrant farmworkers are the backbone of the agricultural industry and in times like these, risk their lives to feed families across America. It seems unjust that such an integral population continues to experience health disparities. These inequalities inspired me to address social injustice by pursuing a career as a nurse. This past May, I completed my first year at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Nursing. I’ve also chosen to pursue a global health minor and a Spanish Language Certificate to further explore my passions. Nursing perfectly combines my love of medicine and my desire to address health inequalities in rural settings.
After receiving my degree, I plan on returning to Oregon and delivering care to underserved populations. As a family medicine nurse practitioner, I will be able to help migrant families achieve better health and lead more prosperous lives. My goal is to not only to treat the physical needs of my patients but also to tackle the broader issues facing these vulnerable families like inadequate nutrition, educational attainment, and limited affordable housing. One day, I hope to write legislation that addresses these intersecting issues and advocates for change.
Oregon State University Extension Service has been a formative part of my life. During elementary school, I tried new foods at lunch thanks to the Food Hero program. In high school I attended a chemistry camp at OSU that sparked my interest in STEM, and in my senior year, I was vice president of my school’s Juntos club, an organization meant to empower first-generation families to seek higher education. The relationship between Extension and my community is a strong one, and one that I want to continue to grow.
This summer I’ll be an Extension public health intern in the Wasco County Extension Office, supporting its community health initiatives. During these unprecedented times, I’ll be partnering with other community-based organizations to address ongoing health issues prevalent in the Gorge. On any given day you’ll probably find me distributing PPE, assisting with health communications, or fervently taking notes. However, when I’m not in the “virtual” office, I’m most likely chasing the next waterfall, view, or swimming hole as I explore the beautiful Pacific Northwest. I’d like to thank Wasco County Extension for welcoming me to their team! Be sure to look out for updates on my journey with Extension this summer. Stay safe and healthy!