Photo: David Tsay

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Maria Vertkin, 31
Founder and executive Director, Found In Translation

Her Mission
Vertkin, who moved from Russia to Israel and then to the U.S. in 1997, is acutely aware of the way a language barrier can diminish self-worth. "When you come to a place where your degree and skills don't count, you lose yourself," she says. In 2011, she started Found in Translation, which trains bilingual immigrant women to become medical interpreters. "They help patients who otherwise wouldn't be able to access healthcare, and that's huge," Vertkin says. "It can be lifesaving."

Above: Interpreters study anatomy; Vertkin teaches professional development in Cambridge, Massachusetts.