Alfred Queneros’ story begins in a tiny farming community, 60 miles south of the U.S. border. Quinones-Hinojosa was born there, and by age 5, he was working at his father’s gas station. His grandmother was a village healer and a midwife.
In the mid-1970s, Mexico’s economy collapsed, and his father could no longer keep food on the table for the family. Quinones-Hinojosa continued his schooling and became a teacher by the time he was 18, but he, too, was unable to provide for his family. So he made the decision, like so many relatives before him, to head north.
Quinones-Hinojosa picked cotton, tomatoes and cantaloupes, and lived in the fields in a broken-down camper he bought for $300. When his cousin told him he would be a farmworker for the rest of his life, he realized it was time to move on.
He signed up for English classes at a community college, where a teacher encouraged him to attend the University of California, Berkeley. At Berkeley on a scholarship, Quinones-Hinojosa developed a passion for the scientific method. He went on to Harvard Medical School, where he eventually delivered the commencement speech. It is also during this time that he received his U.S. citizenship.
Quinones-Hinojosa says he owes so much of his success to the many people who have extended a hand to him throughout his life. Packed with adventure and adversity, his story sets a motivational benchmark for the industry.
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