Student Spotlight: Rebeca Pacheco


Photo by: Kaitlyn Luna

Rebeca Pacheco, a Coward native, loves being around family and friends.

Coward, SC native and senior biology major Rebeca Pacheco grew up in a close immigrant family who has always encouraged her to work hard and get the best education possible.

Her family came to the US around 23 years ago, hoping to give their children the best future possible.

“They always tell me to focus in school and study hard,” Pacheco said. “Because they know the struggle. They came from Mexico, and they want the best for us. They don’t want us to study for them; you know, go to school to work, and then give them the money. They want us to work for our future.”

During her senior year of high school in 2016, Pacheco applied and became the recipient of the Gates Millennium Scholarship, which was established to help minority students afford a quality education. This scholarship, which was created by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, has paid for Pacheco’s entire college education as a result of her hard work in school.

“It was a really long process,” Pacheco said. “I had to write eight essays. I think it took me about a month to finish them. And then, I had to have three letters of recommendation from teachers.”

Pacheco said this scholarship combined with the Life scholarship has allowed her to better herself and work toward becoming a pediatrician or a physician’s assistant with a focus in pediatrics.

“I was thinking at first that I wanted to be a pediatrician, but FMU has the PA program right now, so I think I might want to do that; just focusing on doing pediatrics,” Pacheco said.

Pacheco also said that while she is still deciding between being a pediatrician or a physician’s assistant, her desire to help children has always been a strong one.

“I really love kids,” Pacheco said. “I want them to be like ‘Oh look, you healed me.’ They’re so cute and adorable.”

Pacheco’s journey to where she is has not always been an easy one, however. English is not her first language, and when she goes home Spanish is the only language spoken.

“It’s difficult in classes when they use an English word that I still don’t understand very well,” Pacheco said. “Because, sometimes it may be difficult to understand what they are saying.”

Pacheco said sometimes when she has to switch back and forth between the two languages, she confuses herself and those she’s trying to talk to.

“Sometimes when I go to school I want to speak in Spanish, but then I’m like ‘Wait, they don’t understand what I’m saying,’” Pacheco said. “And then I come home and I have to change and switch again. Sometimes I mix up the words and then I’m like ‘Oh my gosh, I made the wrong switch.’”

For Pacheco, coming to FMU was an easy choice, because she is close to her home and family.

“It was close to home,” Pacheco said. “I just wanted to stay close to home and be close to my family. I didn’t want to go anywhere far, far away.”

While at FMU, Pacheco has been very involved on campus; competing in intramural sports and serving as an orientation leader. She said she spends a lot of time with her friends on campus.

“FMU has been like a second home,” Pacheco said. “I spend a lot of time here.”

Pacheco has learned a lot from her time at FMU and hopes that other students get as much from their time here as she has. She also said there are a lot of helpful tools on campus that students should be aware of, especially new incoming students.

“Do not procrastinate,” Pacheco said. “Also, take advantage of CASA. They have really helped me.”