Growing up as a “Southsider” in the 63% Latino city of San Antonio, Norma Gonzalez witnessed firsthand many socioeconomic and educational disparities.
This gave her a clear passion for and sense of social justice.
Now, fueled by her passion and resourcefulness, Gonzalez is a first-year master’s-degree student the Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health. She also is working to address structural barriers while bringing great honor and pride to her community.
She is already making a difference in health disparities programing, education, and public health, including research on support strategies for Mexican immigrant parents.
To further her experience and education, Gonzalez applied for the Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program.
The Éxito! program, led by Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez at UT Health San Antonio with support from the National Cancer Institute, recruits 25 master’s-level students and professionals each year for a five-day summer institute, optional internships, and ongoing networking and support to promote doctoral degrees and careers in Latino cancer. A recent study found significant increases in summer institute participants’ confidence to apply to a doctoral program and academic self-efficacy.
Éxito! helped Gonzalez “see the value in our personal narratives,” she said.
For those considering applying for Éxito! next year, Gonzalez advises:
“[Keep an] open mind and open heart.”