Meet the 2019 Exito! Latino Cancer Research Trainees

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Exito Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training 2019 Cohort Group
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Program leaders have selected 25 aspiring Latino researchers from across the nation to join the 2019 cohort of Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training at UT Health San Antonio.

Each year, Éxito! recruits U.S. master’s level students and professionals to participate in a five-day, culturally tailored Éxito! summer institute to promote pursuit of a doctoral degree and cancer research.

Applications were due in March 2019.

The 25 new participants were selected from a deep pool of applicants.

Each participant now will join the Éxito! summer institute on June 10-14, 2019 in San Antonio. They will interact with Latino researchers and doctoral experts to learn about Latino cancer, succeeding in a doctoral program, and the diversity of research careers.

Here is the 2019 cohort:

  • Nicholas Acuna, Rutgers School of Public Health, Bloomfield, NJ.
  • Rosa Cobian Aguilar, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA.
  • Cristian Garcia Alcaraz, San Diego State University, San Diego, CA.
  • Jeslie Ramos Cartagena, University of Puerto Rico, Medical Science Campus, Cayey, PR.
  • Sara Rubio Correa, UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, Chapel Hill, NC.
  • Crystal Costa, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX.
  • Patricia Dionicio, California State University, Long Beach, Lakewood, CA.
  • Jaquelin Flores, California State University, Long Beach, Los Angeles, CA.
  • Hilmaris Centeno Girona, University of Puerto Rico, Medical Science Campus, Guaynabo, PR.
  • Norma Gonzalez, Columbia Mailman University School of Public Health, New York, NY.
  • Annie Guardado, University of North Texas Health Science Center, Garland, TX.
  • Marissa Jauregui, University of Washington, Seattle, WA.
  • Claudia Lozano, University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, TX.
  • Julissa Marin, California State University, Long Beach, Los Angeles, CA.
  • Stacy Cantu Pawlik, Texas A&M University, San Antonio, TX.
  • Clara Reyes, New Mexico State University, Las Cruces, NM.
  • Emily Reyes, California State University, Fullerton, La Puente, CA.
  • Sophia Rodriguez, San Diego State University, Murrieta, CA.
  • Lucero Silva, California State University, Long Beach, Huntington Beach, CA.
  • Alexis Smith, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York, NY.
  • Maria Torres, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ.
  • Jennifer Valdivieso, Howard University, Washington, DC.
  • Monica Villarruel, Washington University in St. Louis, Los Angeles, CA.
  • Nelybeth Santiago Yance, University of Puerto Rico Medical Science Campus, Toa Alta, PR.
  • Corina Zamora, UT School of Public Health, San Antonio, TX.

“We feel that each of these candidates has amazing potential to succeed in a doctoral program, and become some of the next great leaders in Latino cancer research,” said Dr. Amelie Ramirez, director of Éxito!, which is based at the Institute of Health Promotion Research at UT Health San Antonio, the team behind Salud America!.

Éxito! is funded by the National Cancer Institute.

Of 175 Éxito! trainees since 2011, more than 35% have applied to doctoral programs and more than 20% are currently enrolled in a doctoral program.

The Éxito! summer institute significantly increased trainees’ confidence to apply to a doctoral program and academic self-efficacy, according to a recent study of Éxito! program results.

Past Éxito! trainees say the program motivated and supported their pursuit of a doctorate.

“I had no one to talk with about the application process. Being a first-generation college graduate and master’s level graduate, I can’t get insight/guidance from family,” said Laura Rubalcava of San Antonio, a 2011 Éxito! trainee. “It’s been inspiring to see people just like me overcome barriers and become successful in their fields.”

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