IMPORTANT! To provide a personalized LatinLife experience, please enable your Geolocation

Stanford Grad Works In The Fields To Pay For Medical School, Helps Raise Awareness For Farmworkers

Culture & Community By O. DELGADO
Stanford Grad Works In The Fields To Pay For Medical School, Helps Raise Awareness For Farmworkers

To help pay for medical school, Stanford grad Gianna Nino-Tapias returned to the work she grew up with, helping her family in the fields and raising awarness about the conditions farmworkers face every day.

Twenty-four-year-old Gianna Nino-Tapias is the daughter of immigrant farmworkers from Oaxaca. They came to this country to give their children a better life, and Gianna was living it.



Gianna, whose family is of Mixtec ancestry, worked hard in the fields, and in the classroom, making her way to Stanford, where she graduated with her Master's in epidemiology this past spring.

The newly minted grad planned to continue working on campus before starting medical school in the fall. Then the pandemic hit.

Gianna lost both her on-campus jobs and, with mounting bills, tuition to pay, and family to help, she headed home to East Washington - and back to the fields.

"My family has worked in the fields my whole life," says Gianna who started picking herself at age 14. "It’s humble, honest work."

And hard work. Gianna says she and her family work 8-10 hour days in temperatures that can reach over 110 degrees.



According to Gianna, pickers strap a gallon pail to their chest and race to fill it with berries. They only make $3.50 per gallon.

On a good day, Gianna says she can pick 4 gallons an hour. Those who can't pick enough to earn minimum wage are sacked.



And the pandemic has made working conditions worse and more dangerous, with little opportunity for social distancing.

So, Gianna is taking the opportunity to raise awareness about what farmworkers face every day.



Gianna is heading back to Stanford this month to start medical school, but she'll be back in the fields soon enough, this time, as a doctor, to provide badly needed medical care to farmworkers and Native American communities.  

"It’s where I came from," she said. "It’s the people that raised me, that supported me when I was dreaming about going to college and I definitely want to come back and serve."