From Bogota, Colombia to Harvard: One Madison College Graduate’s Journey

Madison College graduate Camilo Campo stands with his family in his Harvard Medical School white coat.

Camilo Campo and his family

The Early Journey

Camilo Campo’s journey to Harvard Medical School is not a typical one. His story began 2,600 miles away in Bogota, Colombia.

At the age of eight, his family immigrated to the United States to follow his parents’ dream of a different life. The transition to life in a new country was met with challenges. Camilo struggled with his English when he first attended school and later enrolled in summer classes to catch up.

As an Edgewood High School student, Camilo enjoyed playing football and baseball. He admits to not applying himself in his first two years of high school the way he did in athletics.

“At the time I didn’t prioritize school much as I did for example, sports,” said Camilo.

A football injury his sophomore year changed all that.

Education As A Priority

 Camilo’s injury required frequent visits to the doctor and during this time he became fascinated by medicine. He realized he needed to do better in high school if he wanted to go to college after Googling “how to be a doctor.”

In his last two years at Edgewood High School, Camilo worked hard to get his grades up, but because of his grades the first two years he was not accepted to the University of Wisconsin-Madison (UW) as he had hoped.

That rejection letter from UW marked another turning point in his life. At the bottom of the letter, it was suggested he take advantage of transfer programs through the Wisconsin Technical College System. That suggestion lead Campo to enroll at Madison College.

Madison College And Beyond

“I came in with the purpose that I was going to develop good study habits. That I was going to become more conscientious and take my education very seriously,” said Camilo about his time at Madison College.

With the goal of transferring to UW, he earned a 4.0 in his first semester at Madison College and joined the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. This reinforced his new mentality about his educational goals.

Camilo credits his success as a student to Madison College’s small classes where he had the opportunity to get to know his instructors and classmates. He was able to receive immediate feedback on his progress and gain tips on how to improve his study habits.

He graduated from Madison College with an Associate in Science with a 4.0 GPA as part of the Liberal Arts Transfer program. Through this program he was able to transfer to UW to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Biology.

At UW, he was an active student joining campus groups, volunteering time with the Latino Health Council and participating in a radiology lab group so he could conduct clinical research.

The Road to Harvard

Camilo decided to take a year off between graduation and medical school to focus on applications. He applied to schools all over the U.S., but initially thought he would attend UW Medical School.

“I thought I might as well aim high and see where else I can get into,” he said.

Out of the 12 medical schools he applied to, Camilo was accepted by six. He ultimately made a decision to attend medical school out of state.

He began his first semester at Harvard Medical School in August 2016. His goal is to work with underserved populations, especially Latino communities.

Throughout all of his success as a student, Camilo credits Madison College with helping him develop as a better student.

“I would credit Madison College for really making me the student that I am today. For having the study habits, the work ethic, the conscientiousness to pursue all of my educational goals,” said Camilo.

To help other students achieve their educational goals, learn more about how your donations are used to support student success at Madison College.