C of I alumna comes home to pay it forward

College of Idaho graduate Maribel Serrano ’02 has always had a passion for the medical field. At 16, she began working as a nursing assistant at Mercy Hospital in Nampa. After graduating high school, Serrano chose the C of I for her undergraduate work prior to heading off to medical school. Now, she has come full circle as an established OB/GYN doctor who has returned home to serve the patients of her hometown.

“I think it’s fantastic that she’s back in Idaho,” said C of I biology professor Dr. Ann Koga. “It’s just like Maribel to come back to her roots, back to where she started.”

The journey from being a nursing assistant to her current position with St. Alphonsus in Nampa has been a long and winding road for Serrano. After completing her bachelor’s degree with a major in biology and a minor in chemistry at the C of I, Serrano began medical school at the University of Washington, graduating with her Doctor of Medicine in 2010. To finalize her specialty in OB/GYN, Serrano completed a four-year residency in El Paso, Texas—a perfect location to utilize both her medical knowledge and bilingual abilities.

Her schooling finally complete, Serrano jumped at the chance to return to the Treasure Valley and serve the local community that supported her journey. She is thrilled to be back close to her family, and to the school she still holds in high regard.

“C of I played a huge role in my getting into medical school,” Serrano said. “The College has a great reputation for its quality students being accepted into medical school, and the professors really prepared me. They weren’t easy, but were tough, with good intentions to prepare you for whatever you decide to go into.”

As an OB/GYN specialist, Serrano serves women of all ages, from teenagers to pre-natal mothers and more. Her practice includes consultations, surgeries and yearly exams—and it’s a labor of love for the kind-hearted Serrano.

“The medical field is so rewarding,” she said. “It’s really difficult at times, but if it’s what you want to pursue, keep on track and make it happen.” 

Serrano is a first-generation college student, one of many who have found fulfilling lives and careers after attending The College of Idaho. It took years of hard work for Serrano to achieve her goal, but her story goes to show what is possible for students with the drive, determination, and support to make their dreams a reality. 

Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college. It has a century-old tradition of educating some of the most accomplished graduates in Idaho, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three Marshall Scholars, and another 12 Truman and Goldwater Scholars. The College is located on a beautiful campus in Caldwell, Idaho. Its distinctive PEAK curriculum challenges students to attain competencies in the four knowledge peaks of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field, enabling them to graduate with an academic major and three minors in four years. For more information on The College of Idaho, visit