Laura Reyes is a native South Texan who developed a thirst for knowledge early in life, often visiting the library as a child with her mother, who was going through grad school.
As she continued to seek knowledge, her interest in science and the human body grew, and she eventually attended Loyola New Orleans University. Then the Hurricane Katrina disaster brought her back to San Antonio—a fortuitous transfer to St. Mary’s University that eventually got her interested in research techniques.
Reyes now is a master’s of public health student at the UT School of Public Health’s San Antonio campus, where she heard about Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training from professors and mentors.
She was attracted to Éxito!—which aims to increase diversity in Latino health disparities and cancer research by encouraging Latino master’s-level students and master’s trained health professionals to pursue a doctoral degree and a career in research—because she felt it would be a good way to learn more about cancer and the nuts and bolts of pursuing a doctoral degree. She also saw it as an opportunity to network and meet new peers.
At the Éxito! Summer Institute in June 2011, Reyes said she was inspired by hearing from several guest speakers, including cancer researchers and professors, who talked about their life stories and career paths.
“Éxito! has opened up my eyes to cancer research,” said Reyes, who is interested in pursuing a dual PhD/MD program with a concentration in epidemiology. “Because of Éxito! I have read books regarding cancer research and have more of an interest and knowledge of cancer and cancer research.”