As Joanna Perdomo grew up in Miami, Florida, both of her parents worked in the health care field at Miami Children’s Hospital. They instilled in her their deeply held values for serving the community. They also raised her to appreciate the traditions of their two cultures, encouraging her to explore her Jewish and Cuban roots. Joanna is currently a Philosophy, Neuroscience and Psychology major with a minor in Ballet at Washington University in St. Louis. She is a proud Annika Rodriguez Scholar, a highly selective program based on the pillars of academic excellence, leadership, service to the community and bringing diverse cultures together. Additionally, was recently selected as a member of Phi Beta Kappa and she will enter medical school in fall 2011.
Outside of her academic pursuits, Joanna has been a program leader for Natural Ties since 2008, helping to plan fun and interactive events for adults with intellectual disabilities. Joanna also serves as the family coordinator for the St. Louis Night Off Program, which provides volunteer babysitting services to families who have children with autism. Her service work with individuals who have developmental disabilities is inspired by her two cousins who both have disabilities. Seeing firsthand the hindrance and rejection that they encounter inspires her to be involved in public service activities that promote the recognition and advancement of individuals with intellectual impairments.
Joanna has also worked hard to support Relay For Life and the U.S. DREAM Act. Joanna is the Fundraising Chair for Relay for Life 2010, but she has been involved in supporting the American Cancer Society through Relay For Life since high school. Additionally, she lobbied for the passage of the DREAM Act prior to entering WUSTL and throughout her freshman year after her friend, Juan Gomez, was nearly deported from the U.S.
Joanna is an accomplished and incredibly caring individual. Where she sees a need, she steps in to help. Her service is never arrogant or self-serving. Rather, she works in partnership with communities that she feels strongly about. As her nominator, Julia Macias Garcia states, “What sets Joanna apart is not that she holds prestigious leadership positions, but that she lives her mission of service every day. She works with the utmost respect for the communities with which she works and at the end of the day, she is incredibly humble.”