Like the bright velas (candles) her grandmother lit as a sign of her strong Catholic faith, Stacy Cantu-Pawlik is shining as a researcher and advocate for Latino health equity.
Cantu-Pawlik is a senior research area specialist at the Institute of Health Promotion at UT Health San Antonio, where she serves as a digital content curator for the Salud America! program. She creates content that promotes healthy change, such as stories about mental health heroes and campaigns to improve healthcare.
Cantu-Pawlik, who earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, focused graduate research on environmental factors and elevated cancer incidence in South Texas.
Her experiences growing up in the Rio Grande Valley and conducting environmental health research drive her passion to understand the connection between toxic exposures and cancer disparities among Latinos.
To further her experience and education, Cantu-Pawlik 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.
“The Éxito! summer institute has motivated me to apply for Spring 2020 admissions,” Cantu-Pawlik said.
For those considering applying for Éxito! next year, Cantu-Pawlik has this advice:
“Just do it! Apply!”