Melissa Martinez

Melissa Martinez

It’s not easy putting roots down in a family that has moved 17 times in 25 years.

But Puerto Rican native Melissa Martinez is putting roots down in health-related research and has burgeoning experience in epidemiology and biostatistics, and wants to investigate ways to increase the community’s healthy habits so they avoid colon-related health problems.

Martinez earned an undergraduate degree in mathematics from the University of Puerto Rico at Cayey in 2011 and is a graduate student in biostatistics and epidemiology at the University of Puerto Rico Medical Sciences Campus.

Identifying closely with Puerto Rican culture, Melissa 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— because she wanted to learn more about cancer health research and different doctoral program opportunities.

She hoped the program would open her mind and give her the tools to perform research in cancer research.

Indeed, Martinez said Éxito! helped her feel empowered and armed with the tools needed to network with potential colleagues and mentors and consider pursuing a doctoral degree