She appeared shocked when she found out she was accepted - a moment that was captured on video.
Curiel put in a lot of hard work to realize her dream of attending the prestigious Ivy League school. And yes, she had help. The AltaMed Health Services Foundation's youth program was instrumental in helping Curiel reach her academic goals.
"What's unique about AltaMed Youth Champions is that it really teaches you things that aren't taught in school, but that I think that are essential to life after high school and just being an adult," Curiel said. "Things such as finances, accountability and personal growth."
Curiel is a senior at the Huntington Park Institute of Applied Medicine. Part of the Altamed Youth Champions program she joined that stuck with her were the guest speakers, which included architects and NASA engineers.
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Curiel is the daughter of immigrant parents. Growing up in South L.A., she'll be the first of her siblings to attend college.
So why medicine? Curiel's mother dealt with serious health issues that put a financial strain on her family.
"I think that's what pushed me even more to want to have a career in medicine and want to be a doctor and also try my best to make a change, and just make health care more affordable for everybody, especially for families like mine," she said.
So in a few years, Dr. Giselle Curiel plans on returning to her neighborhood to do just that.