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Tomorrow’s Leaders Today: Andrea Daniela Colunga Navarro

By Nora Weaver

A passionate and compassionate young woman dreams of helping people who have injuries. When Andrea Daniela Colunga Navarro was only 11, her father Lupillo was terribly injured in a construction accident and became paralyzed from the waist down. In that same difficult year, Andrea’s grandmother died, her grandfather was burned in an accident, and an aunt became seriously ill.

Without complaint, the entire family went into teamwork mode. Andrea’s mother, Maria, took over the family food business while Andrea and her younger siblings managed their father’s physical and medical needs. At her tender age, Andrea ran back and forth to her grandfather’s nearby house to help him. Extended family cheerfully lent support and encouragement.

From Andrea’s compassionate nature and scientific mind emerged a dream of creating a life in medicine to help injured people like her father. As a result of their role in his care, Andrea and her two siblings now are involved in health care engineering.

Paving the way for these remarkable youths was their parents’ display of inner strength, courage, joy, open communication, and a belief in the value of education. Both parents demonstrated trust and confidence in their children, supporting them while allowing them freedom.

After graduating from high school with honors, Andrea decided to study rehabilitation engineering, the application of engineering principles to health care. She applied for and was granted a Jóvenes Adelante scholarship, which included financial support; a laptop appropriate to her major; a mentor; and free access to counseling, life skills, English tutoring, and a graduate network.

Now in her third year at the Universidad Autónoma de Querétaro, she has aspirations of studying abroad to attain her master’s degree in rehab engineering in Germany, then returning to Mexico to acquire an advanced medical degree.

Because Andrea has a strong work ethic and tremendous time-management skills, she successfully carries a very heavy course load. A typical day begins at 5:30am as she awakens to prepare her day’s meals. Beginning at 7am, Andrea attends classes in German, medical technology, biomaterials, bioinstrumentation, processing signals, and engineering, finishing at 8pm in the evening.

By 11pm Andrea has shared dinner with her brother, studied, and worked on her thesis. Finally, she can sleep. On weekends, Andrea takes the bus to San Miguel to help with the family business and to make money at a part-time job. Andrea balances her heavy schedule with family and friends who provide laughter and fun in her life.

Andrea’s Jóvenes Adelante mentor, Diana Ellsworth, says, “Andrea is a remarkable young woman. I have great confidence that she will achieve her dreams.”  Diana is most impressed with Andrea’s very strong fluency in English.

Jóvenes Adelante grants scholarships to local honors students who otherwise could not afford to attend university and break the cycle of historic economic disparity in their families. For more information, see, contact President Robin Loving at 415 112 3413 or e-mail


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