Born in Orange, California, to Mexican immigrants, Javier Galvan moved with his family to Michoacán, Mexico, and returned to the San Francisco Bay Area when he was eight. Javier did not have any role models pushing him to finish high school, and his school had several policies that inadvertently prevented him from doing well. For example, classroom doors were locked after the bell rang, so when Javier dropped his younger brother off at school and arrived late, he would be punished with detention and would have to miss the whole first period.
One class made a particular impression on Javier: civics. The class inspired him to enlist in the US Marine Corps, which in turn provided him with financial stability and a career plan. As a Marine, he deployed to Iraq in 2008 and Afghanistan in 2009. Before his deployment to Afghanistan, Javier trained as a combat lifesaver, an experience that motivated him to leave the military for a college degree.
With the goal of becoming a physician, Javier enrolled in a local community college before transferring to San Francisco State University. As a college student, he worked at Arbor Free Clinic as a Spanish interpreter and helped start a student-run diabetes self-management program. In 2015 he graduated magna cum laude from San Francisco State with a degree in biology.
Now a second-year student in the dual-degree Program in Medical Education for the Urban Underserved at the University of California, San Francisco, Javier is pursuing an MD with the plan of also receiving a master of public health degree. He uses his position as a first-generation medical student to motivate low-income students in the Bay Area to pursue a career in medicine through his work in various pipeline programs. When Javier is not studying medicine, he is making lip balm and other skin care products. He plans to become a US legislator in the future.