JIRAYUT "NEW" LATTHIVONGSKORN, THAILAND
When Jirayut “New” Latthivongskorn told college advisors he wanted to go to medical school, they didn’t know what to say to him. They had never heard of a medical school admitting an undocumented student. Latthivongskorn, was born in Thailand and moved to the U.S. at the age of 9, after an economic collapse in the region.
"My parents worked at local Thai restaurant. They would come home late and I would wait up to say hi to them. As they entered the apartment I would run up to them and hug them put my arms around their waists before they could even take their aprons off and I would remember the smell of the fish sauce and curry spices. As I looked into their eyes and see they're tired expressions I would ask them what can I do to help. 'Focus on your job,' they would say. And my job as a young child was to do well in school. We all looked to education as the key to success. After witnessing everything that my parents were willing to sacrifice for the opportunities that they never had, I channeled their work ethic into years of diligence. I immersed myself in my studies."
New Latthivongskorn is the first undocumented medical student at the University of California, San Francisco. He was named to Forbes' 30 Under 30 in 2017 for co-founding Pre-Health Dreamers, an organization that works to support undocumented students pursuing health careers.
He is completing a Master's in Public Health at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. New continues to engage in work at the intersection of immigrant rights, health & medicine, and culture change.