Episode 10 - Ahtziri Fonseca

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Terri talks to Ahtziri Fonseca about setting the goal at an early age to be the first in her family to go to college and how she is looking to pursue her MD / PhD while working at Stanford on the Project Baseline clinical trial.   

Who is Ahtziri Fonseca? 

Ahtziri is the daughter of immigrants from Mexico who came into the US in the 90's. She was raised in Sonoma, CA and is the oldest of three.  Her mom, as a single mother, worked her way up from fast food jobs to working in a hospital. Her mom’s story served as inspiration for her to go on to be the first in her family to graduate from college in 2015 with a Neuroscience degree. Since then she has been involved in neurosurgical clinical research and is now working at Stanford as a member of Project Baseline.  

Show Highlights 

  • Ahtziri talks about how she set a goal for herself to go to college and her mom was an inspiration for her in that she came to the US from Mexico 

  • She felt supported and encouraged at school and was internally motivated to be the first in her family to go to college 

  • When she finally got to college, she felt lost after having left her family and been so focused on getting to college 

  • Ahtziri leveraged the resources at school, including the Chicano/Latino Association and with many calls to her mom, she was able to finish college 

  • She got into college starting with a pre-college program in middle school and a college prep high school and participating in extra-curricular activities and getting excellent grades 

  • Ahtziri was encouraged by her mom to apply for the $50K scholarship from a Latino music award show which she won; only one was awarded in the US 

  • Once in college, she felt like a small fish in a big pond and felt unsupported which made her feel like she wasn’t good enough to do research 

  • She had a Chicano/Latino Association advisor who saw her potential and encouraged her to apply for a neuroscience research program where she learned that she could do research and truly enjoyed it 

  • After college, she did neurosurgical clinical until the principle investigator moved to Ohio and she had the opportunity to move back to the Bay Area where she got involved with the Stanford Medicine on the Project Baseline clinical study where Terri met her 

  • Terri talks about Project Baseline, being a part of the clinical trial, and leveraging data and technology to flip healthcare on its head 

  • Ahtziri plans to pursue her MD and PhD and has encouraged her siblings to pursue their studies and who are currently attending college 

  • Ahtziri knows that too much fear is limiting and you need to find a way to eliminate the blocks 

  • If Ahtziri could wave a magic wand, she would make sure that people are given the opportunities to reach their full potential.   


Terri’s Key Takeaway 

You don’t have to know how to get there; set a vision, know what you want, and start taking the steps 



You can find Ahtziri on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/ahtziri-fonseca-b471439a/ 

You can follow Terri on Twitter at @terrihansonmead or go to her website at www.terrihansonmead.com or on Medium:  https://medium.com/@terrihansonmead.  

Feel free to email Terri at PilotingYourLife@gmail.com. 

To continue the conversation, go to Twitter at @PilotingLife and use hashtag #PilotingYourLife.