Nelybeth Santiago Yance

Like her humble papi in Puerto Rico, Nelybeth Santiago Yance wants to help others.

Legends are important in Santiago Yance’s community, but so is dedication. Staying dedicated is how she tackles her responsibilities and how she earned a bachelor’s degree in molecular cell biology and a master’s degree in science with a specialization in health evaluation research at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR).

Santiago Yance is currently a health system evaluator at UPR’s Comprehensive Cancer Center and the Center for Evaluation and Sociomedical Research.

Santiago Yance is fiercely dedicated to study her people’s fears and misconceptions about HPV. Her thesis topic raised interest in topics such as health disparities in HPV vaccination, knowledge and awareness of HPV, and cancer research.

To further her experience and education, Santiago Yance 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.

“I feel more prepared and confident to fill up the application forms for the admission to the doctoral programs, to the scholarships, and how to write a good personal statement,” Santiago Yance said. “I feel more determined and more secure of what I want to do in my doctoral career [thanks to Èxito!].”

“I am very happy to have met other people with my same interests and with my same concerns and barriers,” Santiago Yance said. “Now I have new people with whom I can consult my doubts and share the new findings in the research of disparities in health among Latinos.”