Melissa Rodriguez’ multi-cultural heritage is inspiring her to help Latinos have a better lot in life.
Rodriguez, who was raised in the Bronx (New York City) but identifies closely with her Puerto Rican and Cuban roots, refers to herself as a “Cubarican” with a passion to help cancer patients who are suffering psychologically.
As she earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from, she worked as a data control assistant at Weill Cornell Medical College (WCMC) in their multiple myeloma research group—where she learned that many cancer patients suffer psychologically. She then pursued her master’s degree in clinical psychology at the Teachers College, Columbia University, while working part-time as a research assistant at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC).
In search of additional mentorship and knowledge as she further developed her career in health psychology and cancer health disparities, Rodriguez found and decided to apply for the Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program, which offers a five-day summer institute and internships to encourage master’s-level students and health professionals to pursue a doctoral degree and a cancer research career.
After attending the Éxito! Summer Institute, Rodriguez said she is now more confident that she will pursue a doctoral degree and pursue a career in cancer research.
She also said the friendships and mentorships developed at the Summer Institute were very encouraging.