UConn School of Dental Medicine alumna Dr. Carolina Giraldo ’95 has always persevered.
Born in Bogotá, Colombia, and raised in Bridgeport, Connecticut, Giraldo and her older sister took care of themselves and their younger brother from an early age while their parents worked three jobs. Giraldo knew she’d have to work hard to be successful, juggling work and study to put herself through college and then dental school.
Now she’s paying it forward. Giraldo, who opened her own dental practice soon after earning her doctorate, recently made a $1 million planned gift to help students like herself. Giraldo established the Dr. Carolina Giraldo Scholarship in 2017 so dental students from underrepresented groups might have an easier time becoming dentists than she did.
“I want the minority population to grow in the field,” Giraldo says. “I want a bigger presence of women, of minorities, to get into the field and make a difference.”
Dr. Sarita Arteaga, the dental school’s associate dean for students, says scholarships like Giraldo’s help students with “the little things,” not just tuition.
“It also helps them to know that someone is investing in them,” she says. “They say, ‘Wow, I can’t believe somebody was in this position and not only wants to give back to the school, but wants to do the same thing for me.’”
To support the Dr. Carolina Giraldo Scholarship Fund, visit s.uconn.edu/giraldo.