Former Ceres High School girls tennis player Kimberly Ochoa leads a busy life.
When the 25-year-old isn’t working at Stanford University, she’s a student at Cal State East Bay. She also volunteers as a Spanish interpreter at a free clinic in San Lorenzo.
“At times, it can be stressful trying to juggle school, studying, work, volunteering and family commitments,” stated Ochoa, who just recently adopted a Pomeranian-mixed dog from a rescue shelter. “I still get six to eight hours of sleep. I’m very productive with my time. I plan every hour of my day. I’ve learned to say no when there’s too much on my plate.”
Ochoa began working as a clinical research assistant for the pediatrics department at the Stanford School of Medicine in September of 2019.
“I absolutely love my job,” she said. “I learn so much every day. I work with all types of patients. It’s been nothing but a fruitful experience.”
Ochoa is currently enrolled in a post-baccalaureate program at Cal State East Bay.
She’ll finish those classes in December.
“I’ve completed most of the courses,” she said.
Ochoa started volunteering as a Spanish interpreter at the Ashland Free Medical Clinic in March of 2020.
She did primary care work with Golden Valley Health Centers of Stanislaus County from October 2018 to August 2019.
“I had a great experience with them,” Ochoa said. “They hold a very special place in my heart.”
Ochoa traveled overseas to China in June of 2018 to teach English and science to 30 elementary students, aged 5-7, for six weeks.
She was recruited through the Ivy League Camps.
“I have a new sense of respect for their culture,” Ochoa said. “I’d definitely go back. The kids made my experience easy. They were so precious. They had such big hearts. They were eager to learn.”
Ochoa graduated from UC Berkeley in 2018 with a bachelor’s degree in Integrative Biology with an emphasis in Human Health Science.
It was a bittersweet celebration for Ochoa and her family.
Father Guillermo, who served on the Ceres City Council and was a local business owner, passed away unexpectedly at the age of 54 in March of 2015.
“I wish my dad was there,” she said. “When I was accepted to UC Berkeley, he was telling everybody. He’d visit me every other week.”
Ochoa took a semester off from college after her father died.
“I thought about dropping out and going to Stanislaus State,” she said. “I wanted to be by my mom’s side but I knew I needed to go back. I wanted to make my dad proud. He was definitely my No. 1 mentor and role model. He came from Mexico and was able to become very successful. I was very inspired by the way he found time to not only manage his own small business, but to also have his own career, give back to his community, and dedicate time to his family.”
Kimberly’s career path changed following Guillermo’s death.
“I always saw myself going into medicine for other reasons,” she said. “Now, I want to go into preventative care. I have a purpose. It’s a true calling. You get to treat everybody in your community.”
Ochoa plans to apply for medical school in 2021.
“Becoming a doctor is a very long road,” she said. “If I could stay in California, I would. This is the population I want to work for. I want to make a difference in our community.”
A 2013 graduate of Ceres High, Ochoa delivered the school’s salutatorian address.
Ochoa ranked second in her class with a 4.16 GPA.
She played tennis all four years. Ochoa contributed at doubles.
“I have experienced a lot for my age,” she said. “I feel a sense of happiness and gratitude when I’m involved. I love pushing my own boundaries.”