WAMU 88.5 : Metro Connection

Working as a Waitress, Dreaming of a Career in Medicine

Play associated audio
Fernanda Fortiz, 22, is juggling undergraduate studies in biology with a waitressing job and caring for her teenage sister.
Tara Boyle
Fernanda Fortiz, 22, is juggling undergraduate studies in biology with a waitressing job and caring for her teenage sister.

Fernanda Fortiz was 17 years old when her mother concluded that life in El Salvador was too dangerous for her daughter. Gang violence was a problem there, and she wanted Fortiz to return to the United States, where she was born.

"My parents separated when I was 5, so my mom went back to El Salvador, and she took me," says Fortiz. "And when I was 17, she sent me back because it was too dangerous to be there and she just wanted me to have a better future."

Fortiz is working hard to make that dream a reality. Now 22, she juggles college studies in biology with a full-time job as a waitress.

"I also take care of my teenage sister who lives with me," she says. "So yeah, I have a lot of things on my plate."

Fortiz is finishing up studies at Montgomery College and will enroll at the University of Maryland in College Park this fall. She eventually wants to work in medicine or global health, and says she now considers Washington her home.

"I do consider myself a Washingtonian," she says. "I have learned to love this city. I like the good things and the bad things about it, and I would definitely want to stay here, yes."

[Music: "Confesion (Romanza)" by Alexander Sergei Ramirez on Barrios Mangore Confesion]


An Exuberantly Dark First Novel Explores The Chaos Of Central Africa

Fiston Mwanza Mujila's novel, Tram 83, is a freewheeling tale about life in an imaginary place inspired by the author's home country, the Democratic Republic of Congo. Critic John Powers has a review.
WAMU 88.5

Marion Nestle: "Soda Politics: Taking On Big Soda (And Winning)"

Changing public attitudes have led to a decline in U.S. soda sales. But health expert Marion Nestle believes many people still consume unhealthy amounts of sugary drinks. She argues beverage companies are spending millions on research that misleads consumers.


Sen. Harry Reid Sues Makers Of Exercise Band Over His Injuries

The Senate minority leader and his wife are seeking more than $50,000 in damages over what they say is a defective resistance band that caused him to lose sight in his right eye, among other injuries.

How Skyscraper Construction Ties Into Tech Bubbles

There's a lot of talk in Silicon Valley about a tech bubble.Our Planet Money podcast team examines one possible indicator of a bubble: architecture. Very, very tall architecture.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.