Ashton Balarin

“You’re not gonna know until you try.”
That’s the motto Ashton Balarin’s parents used to grow her confidence, to try and reduce health disparities in her native Fiesta city of San Antonio.
Balarin is certainly putting that motto to work.
She graduated from UT San Antonio with a bachelor’s degree in public health, and is in her second year of graduate school for a master’s degree in health and kinesiology. As a graduate research assistant, Balarin also works on several projects, including a pilot study to reduce older adult men’s risk of getting prostate cancer by lowering their folic acid intake.
She also wants to try to improve maternal health and breastfeeding rates in San Antonio.
To further her training and education, Balarin applied for the Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program. The 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 to promote doctoral degrees and careers in Latino cancer.
Today Balarin continues to turn “try” into a lot of “success;” she hopes to pursue a doctorate in maternal health research in the future.
Éxito!  helped me realize that I am not alone, when it comes to a family that doesn't understand what it is I do,” she said. “It helped me see that many of my obstacles are the same as the other participants.”
Balarin urges others to join Éxito!, too.
“You won't regret participating in Éxito!,” she said. “You learn valuable information and meet like-minded individuals that understand the struggles in graduate school.”