Born in Caracas, Venezuela, Manuel Faria comes from a lineage of first- and second-generation Portuguese immigrants from Madeira Island. In the same spirit, Manuel immigrated to Miami, Florida, to further his education and ultimately graduated with Highest Honors from The Honors College at Miami Dade College. During this time, Manuel was a Point Community College Scholar, Salzburg Global Citizenship Fellow in Austria, and Founder of a student-lead literacy initiative that served students in Miami, Malawi, and Ghana. Trading palm trees for pine trees, Manuel will now be transferring to Stanford University to culminate his B.S. in Neurobiology and minor in Religious Studies, following his dream of ultimately becoming a physician. Currently, he is a research fellow with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, investigating genetic and auto-immunologic pathways with in-vitro cell lines. In the coming years, Manuel hopes to continue exploring the Daoist principle of ‘living like water,’ embracing both change and uncertainty with natural fluidity – in his queer and health advocacy, scientific and humanistic studies, as well as his career and personal goals. When he is not reading or writing, Manuel enjoys a sensible combination of mindfulness meditation, the occasional skydive, and – most importantly – the latest episode of RuPaul’s Drag Race.