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PATHS Scholars

The PATHS Program will be available to academically talented students who demonstrate an interest in the advancement of historically underrepresented populations in the sciences and related fields who have been accepted into STEM-related undergraduate programs at UC San Diego. The PATHS Program selects annual cohorts students to participate in the program. The application is currently open to incoming freshman admitted to UCSD.


Ideal PATHS Scholar candidates will:

  • Be admitted to a STEM major at UC San Diego as an incoming freshman
  • Demonstrate an interest in the advancement of historically underrepresented populations in the sciences and related fields
  • Students from underserved and underrepresented backgrounds are highly encouraged to apply
  • Demonstrate commitment to character, culture, and community
  • Must commit to living on campus for the first two years of the program

P1 Scholars

  • Ruby Rios

    Ruby Rios

    Ruby Rios is a fifth year Cognitive Science with a specialization in neroscience major at Sixth College, with a minor in Law and Society. She is currently assisting with research at Dr. Gentry Patrick's lab focusing on neurobiological activity and dendrite detection. In the previous three years, she gained research experience in building biosensors and analyzing data to develop detection systems for swallow disorders. She hopes to bring her research skills, passion for community advocacy, and leadership to pursue graduate school to study neurological diseases through bioengineering techniques/technology. She participates on and off campus through positions such as a volunteer and officer to help support her community and classmates. In 2021, she participated in Stanford University's Bioscience Advance Undergraduate Institute (AUI) where she gained research skills, mentorship, and guidance to pursue graduate school. She hopes to pass on her skills and mentorship to future scholars and community.
  • Deka Ismail

    Deka Ismail

    Deka Ismail (she/her), a proud first-generation college student from City Heights, San Diego, is currently in her fifth year pursuing a Global Health major at Revelle College. Her academic journey spans diverse research projects, from developing imaging assays for novel autophagy activators at The Scripps Research Institute to studying model systems like Patiria Miniata at The Scripps Institute of Oceanography. Deka's commitment extends beyond research; she serves as an experienced educator and facilitator in restorative justice practices. She is passionate about equity in STEM education and she believes education is a powerful tool to empower youth regarding their health. Deka practices restorative justice as a means of supporting empathetic and socially conscious scholars and scientists, with a vision of utilizing community circles for global health advancement.

P3 Scholars

  • Stephanie Barajas

    Stephanie Barajas

    Stephanie Barajas is a fourth-year Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience major and first generation student. She has been highly interested in the field of medicine from a young age and hopes to attend medical school with the goals to specialize in a surgical field and pursue research. Her aspirations to become a physician stem from the personal experiences she had accompanying her grandparents to doctors’ appointments. Her determination to gain more exposure to the medical field has led to her receiving medical assistant experience as well as a certification in phlebotomy to give the most interactive and helpful patient care. For research, Stephanie is currently working with Dr. Geoffroy Noel and medical student Niveda Rao by studying how the presentation of a body donor can impact a student’s empathy and compassion during cadaveric dissection. With her continuous gain in knowledge and experiences, Stephanie hopes to apply them after finishing her studies by helping others in low income communities and the people close to her.

  • Jessica De La Torre

    Jessica De La Torre

    Jessica De La Torre is a fourth-year student majoring in Cognitive Science with a specialization in Neuroscience at Warren College. Her interest in cognitive neuroscience developed when taking classes on perception and learning, where she learned about both brain anatomy and the different processes of the brain in order to help us learn and engage with our environment. As a first-generation Latina, Jessica hopes to encourage and support individuals from similar backgrounds in pursuing their interests in cognitive neuroscience. In the future she hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in Neuroscience, and further on, become a P.I. for a cognitive neuroscience based lab that supports both undergraduate and graduate students make important discoveries in the field and pursue their research goals.

  • Melissa Güereca

    Melissa Güereca

    Melissa Güereca is a fourth-year undergraduate majoring in Biology with a Specialization in Bioinformatics. Melissa is interested in overcoming the present limitations of medicine and intends to pursue a career in STEM. She believes that a multidisciplinary approach merging biology and computer science can assist in the development of novel medical treatments. Currently working with Dr. Alistair Russell, Melissa studies influenza A viruses’ chimeras to determine how these structures affect its virulence. During her years as an undergraduate, she hopes to conduct research focused on the development of personalized healthcare. After witnessing the impact of health inequities in the Bay Area, she aspires to contribute to the field of science, helping reduce the high rates of infectious and chronic illnesses in underserved populations. As a daughter of Mexican parents, Melissa is excited to harness every opportunity presented, so that one day she can give back to the community that shaped her.

  • Mickey Cardona

    Mickey Cardona

    Mickey Cardona (they/them) is a fourth-year Ecology, Behavior & Evolution major and Theatre minor. They are planning on becoming a teacher after college in the hopes of making education a more accessible and beneficial experience for future students. Having grown up in a household and community that held very harmful views on gender, sexuality, race, and ethnicity, Mickey saw, and in some ways experienced, how hard it can be to just exist in toxic education systems. With a bit of luck and some amazing mentors, Mickey made it out of this environment and is now focused on becoming a teacher so that they can help other students succeed and thrive in our questionable educational system.

  • Amari Henry

    Amari Henry

    Amari Henry is a proud, fourth-year/first generation college student and an Environmental Systems/Environmental Policy major. As an African American student, she wants to become quickly familiarized with UC San Diego by joining clubs and other recreational activities. Her passion in the STEM field is derived from her passion to find solutions for ocean pollution. She is interested in supporting other students like her, specifically her younger sister, to pursue STEM careers. Amari hopes to one day work as an independent, freelancer or in some other form of entrepreneurship.

  • Anasilvia Herrera Fuentes

    Anasilvia Herrera Fuentes

    Anasilvia Herrera Fuentes is a fourth-year student at Revelle College majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology and minoring in Dance. As the daughter of Mexican immigrants, she is proud and happy to be one of many within her family to begin pursuing higher education! In this past year, Anasilvia has worked as a Certified Nurse Assistant with the company: San Diego Senior Helpers and the nursing home: San Diego Post Acute. She is currently in the process of joining the U.S. Army Reserve to serve her country, expand her healthcare training and gain new perspectives that will enrich and further her academic journey. Anasilvia plans to pursue a Master’s and Doctor’s in Nursing Practice degree prior to attending medical school to gain a deeper understanding of the medical field and the U.S. healthcare system. She feels that in order to provide the best care for her patients, she should be as well-versed as she can in the system that dictates how and when people will be treated. Anasilvia plans to become a physician that places the well-being and interests of her patients first. Alongside practicing, she hopes to work in health policies to help close the disparity gaps that affect low-income families and families of color.

  • Henry Luu

    Henry Luu

    Henry Luu is a fourth-year majoring Data Science in Thurgood Marshall College. His pronouns are he/him/his, identifies as a Taiwanese - Vietnamese American, and was born and raised in San Bernardino, CA. Growing up in a largely first-generation, low-income community, Henry has personally seen the effects of systemic inequality and the effects of the asymmetric access to resources. PATHS provides an amazing opportunity for Henry to find the resources and guidance to help him build a strong foundation for future endeavors. He hopes that through Computer Science and Data Science, he can empower others in underserved areas to broaden their horizons, think critically, and challenge socioeconomic barriers they may face. Henry would also like to learn more about the deep-rooted systemic issues in society and initiate deeper conversations about them. He is currently a PR Director for UCSD's ACM org and on the Alter Ego Dance team.

  • Mayra Mendiola

    Mayra Mendiola

    Mayra Mendiola is a fourth-year student majoring in Human Biology at Marshall College with a minor in Chicanx/Latinx Studies. Mayra identifies as a first-generation, low-income college student. She is also the daughter of Mexican immigrants who couldn’t finish primary school in order to help out their household. Thus, these identities fueled Mayra to set high standards for herself. Her current plan is to pursue medical school, but she hopes to affirm this interest or discover a new passion in the upcoming years. She plans to seek more knowledge and opportunities to grow throughout her college journey, meanwhile, continuing to help out her community by getting involved on campus or in any way that she can. She is currently working in Dr. Susan Ackerman’s lab on finding mutations that disrupt homeostasis in the nervous systems and are tied to abnormal CNS development or neurodegeneration. Regardless of what she ends up pursuing, Mayra hopes to use her voice to advocate for a more diverse STEM field and an equitable health care system.

  • Judy Mohamad

    Judy Mohamad

  • Angie Santos

    Angie Santos

    Angie Santos is a fourth-year student majoring in Neurobiology at Muir College. She plans on pursuing a career in the medical field as a physician or medical researcher. She is currently working in the George Lab, an addiction research laboratory, investigating the behavioral and neurological components of addiction. Not only is Angie inspired by the complexities of the human body, but she is also eager to become an advocate for minorities in the medical field. She is a first-generation Latinx student, the first in her family to attend a four-year university, and the oldest child in her family. Angie is motivated by her parents’ pursuit of the American Dream as they both immigrated to America as teenagers with only a middle school education in search of better opportunities. Having grown up in a primarily immigrant and minority community, Angie hopes that by accomplishing her own American Dream, she will inspire future generations of underrepresented students in STEM to pursue their own educational goals.

  • Angel Sarabia

    Angel Sarabia

    Angel Sarabia is a first generation senior majoring in General Biology from Imperial Beach, California. He is currently working in the Dutton Lab which studies the complex lives of microbes using a simplified microbial community: cheese! Under the guidance of his awesome mentor Tara Spencer, he specifically researches how bacteriophage replication changes in the context of a community. Angel has been interested in viruses ever since high school because of his amazing Biology teacher, Gisela Wolfe. He hopes to utilize his college education so that one day he can pay it forward to the people and communities from which he came. Angel hopes to create a diverse and inclusive STEM field that listens to the ideas of all and breaks away at the systemic barriers that prevent people like him from becoming scientists. He aims to make discoveries that will change the way we see viruses!

  • Alberto Valencia

    Alberto Valencia

    Alberto Valencia is a fourth-year college student majoring in Mathematics-Computer Science. He has a passion for helping others and hopes to serve socioeconomically disadvantaged communities by providing educational resources to students excited to pursue STEM. He wants children to dive into their curiosity and experience the joy of creation. Low-income areas often lack the resources to expose students to early education in STEM; he has sadly witnessed it since elementary school. Throughout high school, he has undertaken many programming projects and classes to experience the joy of learning, and most importantly, creating. Alberto will earn a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics-Computer Science to further his programming skill in hopes of transmitting his passion for Computer Science to underserved communities. Alberto is passionate about serving his community and hopes to bridge the connection between STEM and service to others. Currently, Alberto is exploring new interests outside of STEM, but continues to learn more programming during his free time.

  • Celine Yang

    Celine Yang

    Celine Yang is a fourth-year Human Biology Major with a Studio Arts minor at Revelle College. At UC San Diego, she is active in working with a pediatric dermatologist and a team of undergraduate and medical students in collaboration with a performing arts company to produce a film regarding Narrative Medicine. She is also active in working as an undergraduate student and communication liaison at the Science, Technology, and Ethics Center at UCSD. Furthermore, she has recently started an internship at the UCSD Shiley-Marcos Alzheimer’s Research Center. Through her efforts, she hopes to bridge the gap between the arts and medicine while also trying to find innovative ways to address and approach ethics and patient-care in medicine. Following her undergraduate years, she aims to eventually apply to medical school to become a physician, where she hopes to serve as an empathic doctor that can provide for patients’ needs.

P4 Scholars

  • Nicholas Azpeitia

    Nicholas Azpeitia

    Nicholas Azpeitia (he/him) is a third-year student majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a specialization in controls and robotics at Warren College. Nicholas attended high school in the Bay Area. He is looking forward to engaging with the UCSD STEM Community through clubs, makerspaces, and competitions. Nicholas hopes to help younger underrepresented students become interested in STEM through coordinating and helping in STEM-related educational outreach programs. He hopes to gain valuable engineering experience through internships and research while completing his education at UCSD. Nicholas' ultimate dream is to help the world through STEM by solving the 14 Grand Challenges for Engineering in the 21st Century.

  • Jose Beltran

    Jose Beltran

    Jose Beltran is a third-year student majoring in Computer Engineering at Muir College. He is a first-generation immigrant from Sinaloa, Mexico living in a low income, single parent household. Just before graduating middle school, he decided to move to the United States in order to have the best possibilities for a college education. His passion for STEM is based on the desire to be part of developing the next generation's technology. He believes that technology should and can be made more accessible to the public including minorities and people in developing countries. Part of his dream is to eventually be able to go back to the valley that opened up so many opportunities and be able to inspire students to follow their dreams in STEM.

  • Adriana De Paz

    Adriana De Paz

    Adriana De Paz (she/her) is a third-year, first-generation Human Biology major at Revelle College. Adriana has pushed herself to pursue the most rigorous curriculum and excel at the highest levels. She learned through her rigorous years of high school that facing challenges is a passion. It allows her to become the best she can be. This has helped her discover that there is never a dull moment in medicine; it requires critical thinking, problem solving, and there is always something new to learn on the job. Adriana solidified her decision by completing a plethora of hours of community service. In addition, taking her first Chemistry course opened her eyes to the beauty of science. Adriana has put significant thought into her educational goals, as well as her strategies to achieve them. Her short-term goal is to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree in Human Biology and then attend Medical school and obtain a Doctorate Degree in medicine and pass the United States Medical Licensing Examination. To achieve her educational and career goals, she will rely on the persistence and resourcefulness she has inherited from her rigorous years of high school. As a first-generation student, Adriana will use her background to become the first in her family to become a Family Medicine doctor.

  • Sophia Echeverria

    Sophia Echeverria

    Sophia Monseratt Echeverria (she/her/hers) is a third-year Neurobiology major in Revelle College. Her passion for STEM derives from the fact that it helps innovate the future. After a car accident that resulted in multiple visits to the neurologist, she found that medicine (more specifically neural science) provides the necessary function and uniqueness to every individual which inspired her passion for pursing her major. She believes that by committing to STEM, she can contribute to the progression of this field.

  • Tausala Eteuati

    Tausala Eteuati

    Tausala Eteuati is a third-year college student majoring in General Biology at Seventh College. She plans on pursuing a career in the medical field as an Emergency Medicine doctor with a subspecialty in Pediatrics. Coming from a low-income background and perceiving the bias from the healthcare system towards lower-economic individuals, she plans to make a difference in the ER by treating all patients equally and with the utmost care. Her passion for medicine began at a young age, when she took care of her grandmother who was suffering from kidney failure. Her passion was later heightened when her mother was diagnosed with Degenerative Disk Disease, and faced negligent doctors as well as unreasonable treatment plans. She plans to contribute to the community by working in hospitals with a lower socioeconomic background and providing every patient with exceptional care.

  • Michelle Gomez

    Michelle Gomez

    Michelle Gomez is a third-year student at Sixth College majoring in Psychology: Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience with an intended minor in Linguistic Studies: French. She plans to become a Clinical Neuropsychologist after completing her Ph.D. Her interest in Neuroscience and human behavior stems from watching the neurological effects that her grandma suffered. Michelle aspires to better the lives of those suffering from brain injuries and illnesses as well as widening our knowledge in the field. Eventually, Michelle plans to combine her education in Neuroscience and life-long passion in Criminal Justice to work in Neurocriminology in order to reform the way we treat and prevent crime whilst also working to dismantle racial injustices that plague the U.S. justice system. As a first-generation Latina that migrated to the U.S. to pursue STEM, Michelle understands the importance of representation and hopes to support, encourage, and inspire others with similar backgrounds and goals.

  • Veronica Hernandez

    Veronica Hernandez

    Veronica Hernandez is a third-year Psychology student with a Specialization in Clinical Psychology at Muir College with plans to minor in music. Growing up, she developed an interest in topics related to psychology after seeing how mental health affected those around her. Ultimately, Veronica aims to take part in research to find treatments for mental illnesses and disorders, learn about more mindfulness principles as well as how to help others implement them in their lives, and overall help others with their mental health. Veronica plans to pursue a Ph.D. in Psychology. Being a first-generation Mexican-American college student and the oldest of three siblings, Veronica aspires to be someone her siblings can look up to while making a positive change in not just her community, but in the world. In addition, she greatly values both connections with others and access to educational opportunities, which PATHS provides her with as well as other resources that will greatly support her in pursuing her goals. She is more than excited for what the future holds and is eager to begin her journey to make a change for the better.

  • Leena Kang

    Leena Kang

    Leena Kang (she/her) is a third-year undergraduate student studying Applied Mathematics and Data Science. She spent the past year as a Research Intern under Dr. Moshiri, where she along with 1 undergraduate student used a large-scale patient dataset to train a ML model that predicts a patient's recurrence in breast cancer. She presented her work at the 36th Annual Undergraduate Research Conference at UCSD, where she walked through how she and her team came to her findings. Through this, she realized her passion for extracting value from complex data and articulating an impactful narrative that is digestible to a non-technical audience. Her love for both data driven decision-making and public speaking is growing at her time as a Solutions Engineer Intern at Virtualitics. There she is currently exploring client data using their AI-powered software to help present actionable, insightful solutions through data storytelling/visualizations. Moving forward, she is challenged to translate these skills by pursuing data science/machine learning and technical sales engineering, and through her hard work and immense support from PATHS, she hopes to not only be an advocate for diversity and inclusion in STEM, but encourage other women pursuing a STEM field as well.

  • Manal Mohamad

    Manal Mohamad

    Manal Mohamed (she/her) is a third-year, first-generation student majoring in Human Biology and minoring in Global Health at Earl Warren College. From a young age, Manal's innate passion for medicine was nurtured through her caregiving role for her loved ones. This early experience not only ignited her interest but also fueled her determination to make a meaningful impact in the field of medicine. Her ultimate aim is to uplift her low-income community by ensuring access to quality healthcare and promoting well-being. In her pursuit of a career in the medical field, Manal holds a clear and admirable goal to champion diversity and inclusivity. She envisions a healthcare landscape where individuals from all backgrounds receive equitable care, and minority populations are provided with the attention and treatment they rightfully deserve.

  • Mark Morera

    Mark Morera

    Mark Morera (he/him) is a third-year Cognitive Science major, with Specialization in Machine Learning, at Warren College. Mark moved to San Diego from an island named Saipan, in the Northern Marianas Islands. Despite the lack of STEM opportunities there, his love for the field grew when he participated in island wide mathematics competitions and other scientific challenges. Now in San Diego, he has been able to join clubs and go to engineering forums that furthers his interest in STEM. Mark has won first place in a MESA Grade-Level Mathematics competition and met engineers who taught him about their education. Mark is pursuing a Bachelor's Degree (perhaps Masters) in computer engineering and with PATHS, Mark can't wait to network with professionals in his field. One day, I'd love to give back to the community and prioritize diversity, especially in STEM.

  • Diana Oliva Najarro

    Diana Oliva Najarro

    Diana V. Oliva Najarro is a junior at Marshall College majoring in Environmental Systems with a specialization in Earth Sciences. Additionally, she plans to double minor in Political Science and Studio Art. She hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in Environmental Studies and become an Environmental Scientist, to help solve issues on climate change and make sustainability more accessible to all communities. Diana was born and raised in El Salvador and migrated to California at the age of 10 years old with her family. She became interested in STEM during her freshman year of high school, and discovered her passion for Environmental Studies, when she visited the USC Wrigley Institute in Catalina Island through her participation in her school’s Math, Engineering, Science, and Achievement (MESA) Club. In this experience she did many labs, and other hand-on activities that she enjoyed and hopes to do in the future. She comes from a Latinx, single-parent household. and will be the first in her family to achieve a college degree. In her future at UCSD and with the help of the PATHS program, she plans to participate in research in her area of interest, and join other clubs. With the knowledge and experience she gains in her research and participation, she plans to share it with people in her unrepresented community, and encourage everyone, especially girls to follow their passion for STEM.

  • Natalie Pok

    Natalie Pok

    Natalie Pok (she/her/hers) is a third year scholar and first-generation student majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology and minoring in Asian American and Pacific Islander Studies at Marshall College. She participated in the Research and Methodology Lab and later held summer internships at Escient Pharmaceuticals and La Jolla Institute of Immunology, working as a biology intern. She learned about CRISPR/Cas9 and qPCR techniques while also handling mice in the vivarium and later, presented at the UCSD Summer Research Conference and ABRCMS National Conference on if mast cells are expressed in asthma patients. As a daughter of Cambodian immigrants raised in San Bernardino, Natalie learned at a young age about adversity within communities of color and systemic inequalities regarding lack of resources. Her goal is to gain more laboratory experience in order to work towards being a STEM cell biologist, utilizing the study of cells to gain a deeper understanding of diseases. These ambitions come from her parents’ poverty-stricken experiences in Cambodia with little to no research on cures and being involved in multiple community service organizations at her high school and UCSD. Natalie aspires to earn a PhD in Molecular and Cell Biology and become a role model to underrepresented students on their pathway to STEM by letting them know it is possible.

  • Stephanie Rios Ramirez

    Stephanie Rios Ramirez

    Stephanie Rios Ramirez (she/her/hers) is a third-year Bioengineering:Biotechnology major in Warren College. Her passion for STEM comes from how demanding and creative STEM fields and careers could be. She aims to grow into a person who is able to include her personal, as well as others experiences, into her STEM experience. Her passion for the demands in STEM motivates her to look forward to an engineering career. She hopes to be a bioengineer due to the impact of medicine being so large in people’s lives and wants to work to make sure that impact is developing to help more people.

  • Memory Robles

    Memory Robles

    Memory Robles (she/her/hers) is a third-year student majoring in chemistry at Muir college. Coming from a low income area, Memory observed how many disheartening compromises many people must make in regards to their health due to a lack of funds or access. From personal experience, she has witnessed how the quality of healthcare within most underprivileged communities has grown to become both inadequate and saddening. She intends to pursue a career in the medical field and aid socioeconomically disadvantaged communities to attain proper medical help while providing the dedication and perspective necessary in the medical field today. Having grown up as not only the eldest of her family but also a first generation student, she hopes to show others that creating a voice within the world of STEM is possible.

  • Jocelyn Salguero

    Jocelyn Salguero

    Jocelyn Salguero is a junior PATHS Scholar that goes by the pronouns she/her(s). Her declared major is Mechanical Engineering with a specialization in controls and robotics at Muir College. Being a first generation, Mexican-American college student, her goal is to raise the percentage of Latina women in the STEM field. Her passion for pursuing a STEM oriented career begins with her flow of creativity and love for seeing how different components are combined to make up something big. Her biggest goal is to live life to its fullest potential and make every second of every day count as well as uplift others along with her.

  • Brandon Salinas Sanchez

    Brandon Salinas Sanchez

    Brandon Eduardo Salinas Sanchez is a third-year/first-generation Chicano college student majoring in Computer Science at Warren College. Brandon developed his passion for STEM through his participation in his high school’s robotics team. There, he developed an even deeper passion for computer science. Brandon grew up in a poor neighborhood with limited access to technology and the internet. As a result, he came to know how important it is for young students, especially underrepresented students, to have access to technology and a reliable internet connection. For this reason, at UCSD, Brandon hopes to learn more about computer science and its applications in order to help make technology and the internet more accessible to historically underrepresented populations. He also holds a deep passion for environmentalism and hopes to continue to develop this passion through environmental activism and joining the environmental student organizations at UCSD.

  • Julia Sarnoff Espinosa

    Julia Sarnoff Espinosa

    Julia Sarnoff Espinosa is a third-year Human Biology major at Sixth College. Her goal is to attend medical school and become a doctor focused on genetic medicine. Her interest in medicine started when she first learned that a genetic mutation was the cause of her own medical issues. Her passion grew as she participated in clinical trials and her experiences as a patient. Discussing symptoms, test results, and possible treatments is now a very normal thing. In high school she attended a biotech-focused magnet school to further this passion for medicine. Julia was also raised in a biracial, bilingual and bicultural, Mexican-American household, including attending dual immersion schools and spending many summers in Mexico with grandparents. She has one older brother who recently graduated in engineering, but math still does not come naturally to her. Julia enjoys swimming, and manages her stress by baking a variety of desserts, usually at around 2am. She also volunteers as a breeding foster for a service dog nonprofit, and has now successfully whelped 2 litters.

  • Kevin Soto

    Kevin Soto

    Kevin Soto is a third-year Latino student majoring in Clinical Psychology at Eleanor Roosevelt College. He has lived half his life in the Bronx, New York, and the other half in Chula Vista, California. Kevin aspires to pursue an M.D. in Psychiatry. In eleventh grade, Kevin's math teacher introduced him to mental health strategies that empowered him to persevere during the pandemic. By practicing strategies like journaling Kevin felt immense stress relief which allowed him to focus on his academic goals. Motivated by his success Kevin desires to help young adults develop good mental health habits. His end goal is to create a guide that can help high school teachers and students overcome intense stress and anxiety. Through his STEM research on mental health, he hopes to develop the skills necessary to help young adults in their troubles find encouragement and peace.

  • Jorge Torres

    Jorge Torres

    Jorge Torres (he/him/his) is a third-year in Revelle College majoring in geosciences. Jorge has always been interested in understanding how and why our world works the way it does. Geosciences has allowed him to answer those questions his younger self had. There are always new discoveries in the field which always means room for improvement. Jorge is excited to be on the forefront and hopefully make a positive change in the field.

  • Jacquelyn Tsui

    Jacquelyn Tsui

    Jacquelyn Tsui is a junior pursuing a degree in Clinical Psychology at Thurgood Marshall College. Jacquelyn was born in Taiwan and grew up in Diamond Bar, CA. She intends to pursue graduate school in school psychology and partake in early prevention to assist children in becoming comfortable with building emotional intelligence. In college, she wishes to become involved in opportunities to volunteer or intern at autism centers in San Diego and to take part in research that delves into neurodegenerative diseases. Jacquelyn is excited to interact with the empathetic individuals in the PATHS program and hopes to utilize their education to provide services and opportunities to other underrepresented groups.

  • Luis Velediaz

    Luis Velediaz

    Luis Antonio Velediaz (he/him/his) is a first-generation Mexican-American Electrical & Computer Engineering student at Muir College. The future of the world is here, and Luis is truly captivated by the evolution of technology within people’s daily lives. His family of tenacious immigrants has implemented the true value of education and cultural pride. Hispanics and Latinos are generally misrepresented within society and growing up within his underserved neighborhood, Luis scarcely witnessed people like himself become leaders of the technological industry. This inspired him to transform the standards and expectations of the Hispanic-Latino community throughout his high school career. He will certainly continue to do so in future endeavors as engineering is truly an emerging industry everywhere, and he is intrigued to become a part of this ongoing development. He loves to work with the software aspect of this profession because this allows him to be innovative. Yet he has always relished getting hands-on with projects to provide innovative and groundbreaking discoveries to everyday problems. A local native from South East San Diego, Luis has experienced the difficulties many low-income students have to adapt to, therefore his passion for STEM comes from the goal of aiding other motivated students with technological necessities. He hopes to develop his own company or work for one of the big tech giants to provide the world with groundbreaking innovations. He also hopes to develop a non-profit organization that allocates low-income students with technology to facilitate anyone’s path to success within life. He hopes to influence his fellow Latinos, as he has learned that many of us have obstacles in life, however with a tenacious attitude, no matter one's background, one can achieve success, causing society and statistics to progress.

P5 Scholars

  • Chioma Amadi

    Chioma Amadi

    Chioma Amadi (she/her) is a Nigerian sophomore majoring in Cognitive & Behavioral Neuroscience at Seventh College. She comes from the Riverside County area and is excited to start a new chapter in San Diego. Witnessing her immigrant mother work so hard as a registered nurse to provide for her family inspired Chioma to be just like her mother and strive toward a career in the medical field. As she researched more about medicine, her interest grew more and more until she eventually decided to try her hand at becoming a pediatric psychiatrist. Realizing that many children in ethnic households struggle with mental health, Chioma hopes to destigmatize mental health in POC spaces. She wishes to learn about and help children with neurological diseases and to, one day, give back to her community.

  • Ricardo Amador

    Ricardo Amador

    Ricardo Amador (he/him) is a sophomore at John Muir College majoring in Data Science. Although he originally planned to major in Computer Science, during the summer before high school junior year, Ricardo participated in the LUCIR Study and, as a result, discovered Data Science. This study, taking place in his hometown of Salinas, CA, aimed to find out if conventional cleaning products were harmful to health, specifically the health of Latinas and their families in his community. Ricardo and his team not only found that many conventional cleaning products contained carcinogens and endocrine disruptors that were toxic and harmful but also identified cleaner, healthier products and educated his community about making better decisions when cleaning their homes. This study resonated deeply with Ricardo and he hopes that, with the field of Data Science, he will be able to conduct more similar studies and make a positive impact on his Latinx community.

  • Kaitlyn Butcher

    Kaitlyn Butcher

    Kaitlyn Butcher (she/her) is a second-year undergraduate at Muir College majoring in Cognitive Science: Design and Interaction and minoring in Entrepreneurship and Innovation. From a young age, she explored the world of STEM through opportunities like Synopsys Science Fair, FIRST Robotics, and Maker Faire. From such experiences, she quickly developed her love for bringing bold, innovative ideas on paper to real life. She aspires to learn more about how technology can be designed and managed to enhance the quality of life for underserved individuals through coursework, research, and enriching organizations like Product Space at UCSD.

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    Andy Dinh

    Andy Dinh (he/him) is a second-year majoring in Human Biology at Warren College in hopes to pursue a career in Physical Therapy. Andy grew up in City Heights where he developed his love for basketball, which created a domino effect that led him to discover his love for Physical Therapy. Since the age of 14, he has been passionate about seeing people better themselves and strive for a healthier body. Andy became fascinated with human movement and how fast the body can adapt and heal to various situations. He was first intrigued with this when a Physical Therapist once helped him recover from a broken hand. The joy and fulfillment he had when he was able to return to physical activities was a feeling he wanted others to experience as well. He chose Human Biology because he believes that this is the most efficient route to becoming a doctor in physical therapy and, to him, the ability to better the lives of others and see the smiles on people's faces brings him the utmost satisfaction. In ten years, he visions himself surrounded by athletes at the pro or college level, and even mixing in business in his ventures.

  • Natalie Gaytan-Garcia

    Natalie Gaytan-Garcia

    Natalie Gaytan-Garcia (she/her/hers) is a second-year, first-generation student majoring in Electrical Engineering at Earl Warren College. Natalie is the only daughter in a family with three brothers who grew up in South Central in a Mexican family. She has a strong passion for engineering and coding. Her interest in STEM peaked in middle school when she was introduced to engineering and computer science for the first time by her older brothers. She enjoyed the challenge and unpredictability of STEM fields and fell in love with its rigorous nature. Living with predominantly men, she hopes to see the number of Latina women rise within STEM fields and hopes to make a change within her own field in the future.

  • Simret Gudat

    Simret Gudat

    Simret Gudat (she/her/hers) is a sophomore at Muir College studying Cellular and Molecular Biology. Simret has always been drawn to science, and as she learned about the various fields of science, she discovered her love and enthusiasm for biology, particularly cellular and molecular biology. With a fascination towards the complexity of cells, especially given their small nature, Simret hopes to apply this knowledge in the field to her work as a doctor. As someone who loves both science and community engagement she’s found that working in medicine is the perfect career path that bridges both passions. Along with her love of science, she is also passionate about community organizing, particularly when it comes to social justice issues. Simret intends to actively seek out and support equality and justice in both the healthcare and scientific professions as someone who wishes to work in those industries, especially in light of the lack of diversity and long history of institutional racism in both. 

  • Christopher Huerta

    Christopher Huerta

    Christopher Huerta (he/him) is a second-year, first-generation Neurobiology major at Revelle College. His passion for STEM sprouted at an early age, and was further reinforced and developed through his mother's hospitalization. Through this experience, hospitals and the medical environment became normal to Chris. He hopes to attend medical school where he would further specialize in Neurology to aid patients dealing with similar conditions to that of his mother. Chris is now also exploring the research side of Neuroscience to solidify which way his heart leans. Chris makes annual trips to Mexico to keep in touch with his family and stay connected to his culture. He enjoys hobbies such as video editing, exercising, and playing piano (although he claims to not be too good at it). 

  • Evelyn Lorenzo

    Evelyn Lorenzo

    Evelyn Lorenzo (she/her) is a second-year, first-generation student majoring in Aerospace Engineering at Revelle College. Ever since going on a field trip to the California Science Center when she was eight and seeing the retired orbiter Space Shuttle Endeavor, Evelyn was inspired to pursue a STEM career. Despite the lack of STEM opportunities in underrepresented communities and discouragement for Latinas in engineering, she is determined to graduate from college and pursue a master’s degree in aerospace. She intends to work with a diverse team to improve spacecraft for space exploration and solve problems, such as faster transferral information and cost reduction for High and Medium Earth Orbit satellites for improved monitoring and weather forecasting about climate change. She also plans to work on various projects in laboratories, such as testing prototypes and creating concepts for discoveries and space missions. Using her knowledge and experience, Evelyn hopes to establish resources to promote STEM accessibility in underrepresented communities. She is excited to become the first woman engineer on both sides of her family and to be a role model, especially to young girls.

  • Gabriela Marcial

    Gabriela Marcial

    Gabriela Marcial (she/her) is a second-year, first-generation student at Revelle College, where she wishes to surround herself with people who share her interest in making the world a better place to live in. Her passion for the environment and conservation has driven her to pursue a career in STEM. Not only is Gabriela fascinated by the natural world, but her curiosity has also allowed her to truly explore environmental challenges. Gabriela’s interests in wildlife and ecology are connected to her proposed major: Environmental Systems with an emphasis on Behavior, Evolution, and Ecology. She hopes to use her knowledge to tackle issues such as climate change, global warming, pollution, and the preservation of ecosystems. She is more than thrilled to be involved in the PATHS Program where her dreams can soon become reality. Gabriela seeks to use her experiences as a Latina in STEM as a driving force in her journey to becoming a wildlife biologist in hopes of creating a brighter future for the planet.

  • Raquel Mijangos

    Raquel Mijangos

    Raquel Mijangos is a second-year student majoring in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience at Muir College. Raquel has been fascinated by medicine for as long as she can remember and cites her mother, a Registered Nurse, for her first exposure to the field. Along with her passion for medicine, Raquel cares deeply about social issues. Growing up in the Los Angeles area with insight into the foster care system, low-income areas, and immigrant communities, Raquel became increasingly aware of the many disparities within society. The intersectional perspective between medicine and social justice has driven her to seek to improve medical and healthcare accessibility. To help remedy this disparity, Raquel aspires to become a physician and provide medical treatment in an accessible manner to the very groups she witnessed struggling while growing up. In the future, she sees herself going on medical missions as a part of mobile medical units, such as the International Medical Corps, providing much-needed medical services to those in developing countries. While particularly interested in Neurology and Surgery, Raquel wants to take advantage of the many educational and research opportunities at UCSD to come closer to gaining the knowledge necessary to help others in the future.

  • George Nakoud

    George Nakoud

    George Nakoud (he/him) is a second-year student at Sixth College majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a specialization in Controls and Robotics. During high school, he was introduced to the field of artificial intelligence and immediately recognized its immense untapped potential. George hopes to integrate both of his passions into his career by developing autonomous vehicles and robots. He plans to implement this technology to assist those who are less fortunate and require an extra pair of hands. In preparation, George intends to join student organizations at UCSD and participate in cutting-edge research.

  • Doanh Nguyen

    Doanh Nguyen

    Doanh Nguyen (he/him) is a sophomore majoring in Math-Computer Science at Warren College. Growing up, Doanh did not see people in his family or community go to college, but with their unconditional support, he became the first person to attend a four-year university within his family. Doanh is passionate about STEM because he feels that STEM advancements are the key to a brighter future. With breakthroughs in science and engineering, he feels he will have a direct impact on the betterment of our society. He hopes to one day work closely with AI, believing that AI is the future and the key to many beneficial breakthroughs.

  • Esmeralda Rico

    Esmeralda Rico

    Esmeralda Rico (she/they) is a first-generation Latina studying Cell and Molecular Biology at Muir College. She also intends to minor in Bioethics and has had a profound love for science for as long as she can remember. This interest in science became significantly more intense when her grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer and Esmeralda saw the toll that treatment took on her. Esmeralda became absolutely engrossed in all things related to genetic diseases as she sought to find a way to help her grandmother. Although there was nothing at the time she could do to help on a larger scale, Esmeralda hopes that one day, there will be a way to support others so no one has to suffer from diseases–or watch their loved ones suffer. She hopes to work in a lab studying genetic diseases and ways to prevent them or go into genetic counseling. However, Esmeralda’s ultimate goal is to inspire her younger siblings by demonstrating that first-generation, low-income children of Mexican immigrants can also break barriers and succeed in STEM.

  • Carina Rocha

    Carina Rocha

    Carina Rocha (she/her) is a sophomore at Revelle College majoring in Neurobiology. As a first-generation student from a low-income household, Carina witnessed a history of family health complications, which drove her passion to pursue medicine. Her parents immigrated from Mexico to the US only to work their entire lives in the fields. Their hardships motivate her to obtain a degree and give back to her community. She hopes to attend medical school and one day open up her own clinic in underserved communities.

  • Sadrac Santacruz

    Sadrac Santacruz

  • Alana Tamayo

    Alana Tamayo

    Alana Tamayo is a second-year student majoring in Chemistry at Eleanor Roosevelt College. She intends to pursue a career in the medical field as a physician specializing in Pediatrics; hoping to serve her community by providing medical care and encouraging STEM opportunities to the youth. Growing up as a military child, Alana has moved across the country numerous times, learning from each experience and readily adapting to new situations with resilience, tenacity, and dedication. Through first-hand experiences, she has learned that the most successful and efficient teams are those that embrace people with diverse backgrounds, perspectives, and knowledge. At UCSD she has become involved in various clubs and organizations, most notably as a research intern at the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences, where she continues to broaden her knowledge of scientific discovery, innovation, and critical thinking through mentorship, advice, and experiences. Continuing to explore her passions and exceed in her academics, Alana hopes to support, inspire, and empower others to pave their own pathway through obstacles they face and break down barriers standing in their way. 

  • Aaliyah Vaden

    Aaliyah Vaden

    Aaliyah Vaden (she/her) is a second-year student at Revelle College majoring in Neurobiology. Her passion for the STEM field is a path she will follow to become a neurosurgeon. It has been a passion of hers since she was nine to change the field of neurosurgery with her presence as a Black woman. While working her way up the Totem Pole to the top of her field, Aaliyah hopes to change the way medicine is performed when it comes to Black and Brown people. The stigma they face as to whether or not they can receive the same treatments or even feel the same pain is one that has cost many their lives. Aaliyah hopes to fix this issue with the help of others who look like her and her allies. In addition to this, she hopes to be able to set an example for little Black girls, like her sisters, so that they know they can do anything, just like her.

  • Mya Verrett

    Mya Verrett

    Mya Verrett (she/her) is a second-year student at Muir College majoring in Bioengineering: Biosystems and minoring in Physics. She aspires to become a biomedical research scientist and have her own research lab, providing a new perspective in the bioengineering field and solving more problems in medicine. Captivated by the innovation and creativity that engineering provides within science, she desires to pursue a career in research and gain a Ph.D. in bioengineering. Growing up in San Bernardino, Mya has seen the lack of STEM opportunities available to minorities and women in education. She hopes to overcome this by creating STEM programs specifically targeting those in lower-economic communities in the future.

  • Kelly Wang

    Kelly Wang

    Kelly Wang (she/her) is a second-year Molecular and Cell Biology major at Seventh College. Having found a love and passion for the tiny, minuscule interactions between biomolecules, she hopes to study these reactions and apply them to genetics research in the future. Currently, Kelly is conducting research with Dr. Cole Ferguson where she explores the effect of histone ubiquitination by BAP1 on neurodevelopment. Additionally, she is a co-chair for HMP3’s service subcommittee. In the future, she hopes to obtain an M.D./Ph.D. where she can combine medical knowledge with genetics and neuroscience research as a physician-scientist. In doing so, she hopes to inspire future generations of young girls and female scientists to achieve their STEM-related dreams—regardless of gender stereotypes or any obstacles that may be in the way.

P6 Scholars

  • Santiago Cabrera Almanza

    Santiago Cabrera Almanza

    Santiago Cabrera Almanza (he/him) is a first-year student at Warren College majoring in Bioengineering: Biotechnology. He is a first-generation Mexican student living in San Pablo, California. He wishes to help contribute to the field of science and the innovations being discovered every day. While growing up, his family was low-income and struggled to maintain a home. Despite this, he didn't give up and strived to receive a higher education so he can one day be able to support his family and inspire the next generation in his family to also pursue a higher education. Santiago is inspired by the history of innovation, seeing how we once went from learning how to build fire to being able to explore the stars and the lowest parts of the sea once thought unexplorable. Santiago wishes to one day help contribute to our history of innovation so that future generations can also be able to use the knowledge we learned and help continue the history.
  • Fnu Anu

    Fnu Anu

    Fnu Anu (she/her) is a first-generation student pursuing Computer Science at Thurgood Marshall to fulfill her passion for technological advancements. Growing up in India familiarized her with the community isolation and educational struggles that the lack of technological access causes, which become barriers against educational endeavors and financial mobility. By accurately expressing the depth of this issue throughout years of exploring her vast interests in the STEM field, Fnu has decided to unite her value in community with her creative programming skills. Outside of STEM courses, she has also gained exposure through internship programs at Hewlett Packard (HP) and Visible Intellect. Fnu aims to gain expertise in hardware and software to lead advancements for efficiency in the production of technological products. Through efforts in research and development, the coming together of materials to create technology will become easier, causing the ultimate end-result products to be cost-effective to everyone. To become a global entrepreneur for sustainable devices, Fnu plans to utilize UCSD resources wisely and demonstrate her leadership throughout multiple student organizations to continue her journey of learning. Aiming to assist others in achieving a better quality of life for themselves, Fnu dedicates herself to making technology accessible, affordable, and even free to those from underrepresented areas.
  • Andrea Balcan

    Andrea Balcan

    Andrea Balcan (she/her) is a first-year Biochemistry major at Eighth College. Her career goal is to work in pharmaceutical research, specifically related to drug design and discovery. She has cultivated her passion for pharmaceutical research throughout high school, both in the classroom and by volunteering at a local pharmacy. In her time at UCSD, Andrea wants to explore how drugs heal our fabric of being through studying biochemistry and eventually obtaining a Ph.D. She aspires to develop new, innovative approaches to various illnesses to improve the lives of patients.
  • Kalil Barnes

    Kalil Barnes

    Kalil Barnes (he/him) is a first-year General Biology major at John Muir College. His passion for STEM comes from his love to learn how things work and use that knowledge to solve problems. That is why Kalil chose biology as his major as it is all about the processes of life and explaining how things work. Kalil’s love for medicine pairs well as he can apply his knowledge to help people. He intends to help the people that need it most by using what he learns in medical school, along with his personal experiences, to become a great physician and set up health clinics in underserved communities. Kalil hopes to keep working and earning higher positions throughout his life so that he can influence and inspire others to help these communities as well.
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    Anugraha Bhatta

    Anugraha (Anu) Bhatta (he/him) is a first-year Bioengineering: Biotechnology major at Sixth College. While attending Victor Valley College, Anu witnessed and shared the struggle of the high desert community in pursuing STEM amid the lack of funding and resources available. By attending UCSD and being a PATHS scholar, he hopes to be an advocate for the promotion of diverse and remote communities like his own in STEM. His true passion lies in the potential of genetic engineering to change both a person's life and transcend the information/technology era. Through his simultaneous study of the humanities, he hopes to approach STEM in an ethical and nuanced manner to help prevent the misuse of biological technologies, arising from prejudice and bigotry, against vulnerable communities like his own. At the same time, his plan to pursue an MD/Ph.D. in bioengineering aligns with his desire to conduct research within a human framework to improve health outcomes for disadvantaged groups around the globe.

  • Meizha Ehreen Candelaria

    Meizha Ehreen Candelaria

    Meizha Candelaria (she/her) is a Filipina freshman majoring in Microbiology at Revelle College with plans to pursue a career in the medical field as a doctor. Having always been an avid STEM fanatic, she took a course in junior year called Genetics and Biotechnology where she received a kit from a biotech company to build recombinant plasmids to transform bacteria. Later that year, she volunteered at the Pasadena Bio Collaborative Incubator where she helped construct those same kits to send to other high schools, and this sparked her interest in working at a lab. During the summer before her senior year, she worked at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center as a research intern in the pulmonary department. There, she learned lab etiquette and techniques, read research papers, and aided her lab in finding possible causes for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis. Her experience here sparked an interest in pursuing an MD and Ph.D. so that as a doctor she can help people directly, while her research can impact humanity as a whole. Meizha has seen misogyny and racism within the STEM community, so she aspires to serve as an inspiration to those with a similar background and show them that someone they can identify with is able to find success in the field.

  • Miguel Castillo

    Miguel Castillo

    Miguel Castillo (he/him) is first-year student at Muir College majoring in Computer Science. He has been passionate about giving back to his community and influencing those around him that anything is possible as long as you work hard for it. Miguel wants to influence other Hispanics in his community to go into STEM. He has always had a dream of creating a program to help the underserved community. Since he was young, Miguel has been intrigued in software. Creating a program that helps guide and improve the life of the underserved community is a goal of his.
  • Belinda Chiu

    Belinda Chiu

    Belinda Chiu (she/her) is a first-year undergraduate majoring in Biology with a specialization in Bioinformatics at Eighth College. Her interest in biology began at a young age, as she spent a lot of time outdoors and was curious about how life existed. This interest has been solidified by her recent internship at the UCLA AIDS Institute, where she worked on two gene cloning projects with different vectors. As a teenager, Belinda found a passion for helping others by becoming involved in her community through clubs, volunteering, and hosting events. As a PATHS Scholar, she hopes to continue meeting new people and helping others around her. Currently, Belinda aims to either pursue a Master's in Bioinformatics or go to medical school following her undergraduate years.
  • Brix Joseph Dizon

    Brix Joseph Dizon

    Brix Joseph Dizon (he/him) is a first-year student majoring in General Biology at Muir college. Brix is from the Philippines and has lived there for 15 years. Coming from a foreign country made it difficult for him to adapt to a new community and better understand the culture. He took interest in healthcare and medicine because he has always been eager to help people in need, since his community in the Philippines lacked the extensive healthcare that the U.S. offers. Seeing the contrast between the two, along with the struggles that his parents had to overcome, Brix is dedicated to becoming a Physicians Assistant. He strives to not only bring success to his family, but also develop his knowledge in medicine and give back to his community. Brix hopes to help those who do not have access to proper healthcare and inspire people to commit to their ambitions.
  • Osamudiamen Borngreat Omoma-Edosa

    Osamudiamen Borngreat Omoma-Edosa

    Osamudiamen Borngreat Omoma-Edosa (he/him), goes by his middle name Borngreat, is a first-year Data Science major in Earl Warren College. He is a first generation college student born in Nigeria. His goal is to become a data scientist. His interest in STEM comes from his love for mathematics. Since Borngreat was a child, he has always had an interest in math and as he took more math application classes like physics, economics and computer science, his interest grew. Borngreat eventually figured out that the reason he liked math is because he loves problem-solving and analysis. He decided to choose a career that is based on that. While he choose Computer Science first, after some research, he decided that Data Science was the best major for him. Borngreat is the second child in his family with 4 younger siblings. He aims to succeed so that he can hopefully inspire his siblings and show them that it is possible. 
  • Marie Joe Franci

    Marie Joe Franci

    Marie Joe Franci (she/her) is a first-year, first-generation student majoring in Pharmacological Chemistry at Muir College. She was born and raised in Beirut, Lebanon, where her interest in STEM sparked after her involvement in a local pharmacy. There, she learned the cruciality of accessible and effective medication. In 2020, Marie Joe moved to San Diego for higher education. Although the change was a major challenge, she persevered by taking advantage of the opportunities available in the United States to make an impact in STEM. Thus, she volunteered at the Pharmacy Department at Sharp Grossmont Hospital, and founded "Women in STEM" at Grossmont High School, a club designed to support and empower women interested in a STEM career. Furthermore, Marie Joe participated in an internship at the Schroeder Lab at UCSD, where she was part of a research project on CO2 signal transduction in plants. These distinct experiences made Marie Joe interested in the multidisciplinary approach of STEM, a concept she hopes to explore further as a UCSD student and a PATHS Scholar.
  • Gabriela Freedland

    Gabriela Freedland

    Gabriela Freedland (she/her) is an incoming freshman majoring in Cognitive Science at Revelle. Her goal with Cognitive Science is to expand her knowledge of it in the field of prosthetics. Gabriela has seen how debilitating it is for her grandma to lose feeling in her fingertips, as her musical outlet of the piano disappears. Figuring out the connections between mind and body and manipulating them to work well with prosthetics drives her passion. Besides her love for studies, Gabriela would love to provide representation for the Latinx community in this underrepresented field and to serve as a role model who can bring about positive change.
  • Bianca Frias

    Bianca Frias

    Bianca Denise Frias (she/her) is a first-year Cognitive Science with Specialization in Neuroscience major at Muir College and is pursuing a career in Physical Therapy. When she was 12 years old, her aunt suffered from a burst brain aneurysm which landed her in a coma. When her aunt woke up, she required a lot of physical therapy. Since her aunt's movement issues were due to brain damage, physical therapists had to work on her cognition to re-educate the brain on human movement, and she has gradually regained movement of her legs and arms. This experience inspired Bianca to become a Neurological Physical Therapist to help people the way her aunt was helped. She seeks to understand the brain and cognition to help people who have suffered from neurological injury. She has been shadowing a physical therapist at Scripps Mercy Hospital Chula Vista and plans to continue throughout college and physical therapy school.
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    Alexis Garcia

    Alexis Garcia (he/him) is a Hispanic first-year from Los Angeles majoring in Mathematics-Computer Science at Sixth College. His passion for STEM derives from curiosity, enjoyment, and the belief that, one day, he can help others in STEM. Growing up as a first-generation student has taught him discipline and appreciation. Furthermore, he inherited his immigrant parents' work ethic. He not only wants to pursue education for himself and his parents, but also to become a pillar in his community and inspire others.

  • Daniel Martin

    Daniel Martin

    Daniel Martin (he/him) is a first-year at Sixth College majoring in Cognitive Science. Throughout high school, he has developed a strong passion for STEM as a field that offers a variety of career paths, which will allow him to explore his passions of Nursing and Engineering. As the first person in his family to go to college, Daniel has encountered a challenging process as he had to navigate college applications and selections on his own. He hopes to be an inspiration to others by demonstrating that any goal or dream can become a reality with determination.
  • Michele Mendoza

    Michele Mendoza

    Michele Mendoza (she/her) is a first-year, first-generation student majoring in Mathematics and Economics at Warren College. She aspires to pursue a career in engineering, bringing innovation to current technologies. Her passion for computer science is derived from taking several STEM electives in high school. However, through these courses, Michele witnessed the lack of opportunities in the STEM field for women and Latinxs and wishes to be a voice for the underrepresented. She has hopes in making STEM-related careers more attainable for these underrepresented groups and providing more opportunities to learn about computer science to underserved communities. In the future, Michele aims to use computer science to research efficient solutions for climate change.
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    Robert Nasanbat

    Robert Nasanbat (he/him) is a first-generation, Mongolian-American freshman studying Neurobiology at the Eighth College. Growing up seeing how his parents worked so hard at the expense of their own health to give him the opportunity to pursue his interests inspired him to live a life of helping others. His passion for medicine, notably Pediatrics and Obstetrics, started when his mother was safely able to give birth to his little sister after both had severe pregnancy complications that almost cost both of their lives. The complications were from a lack of accessibility to quality care due to the fear of prejudice in the healthcare system. Robert now dreams of becoming a physician and using his various talents and interests to create projects that contribute their part in making healthcare, and the world, more equitable, so that everyone may pursue their wildest dreams.
  • Lorelai Nelson

    Lorelai Nelson

    Lorelai Borja Nelson (she/her) is a first-year majoring in Microbiology at Muir College. Lorelai has moved around her whole life and watched as the world around her grew rapidly. With the quick uprise of COVID-19, Lorelai noticed a lack of education in her community about vaccines and medicine. She wants to be able to contribute to the evolving world of science while serving her community as a role model. Lorelai seeks to conduct research about medicine, viruses and immunology while teaching others on how to keep themself and the ones they love safe and healthy.

  • Brianna Newton

    Brianna Newton

    Brianna Newton (she/her) is a first-generation student majoring in Cognitive Behavioral Neuroscience at Sixth College. As a first-generation student driven by curiosity of the unknown, Brianna firmly believes in carving your own path, as she was one of the first in her school to graduate early with both a high school diploma and an Associate's Degree in Psychology. She came from a family of street vendors and to avoid work, she frequently engrossed herself in literature. However, Brianna is no stranger to hard work as her family's business often requires her to work twelve-hour days. Her desire to pursue post-secondary education sprouted from her experiences of working at college campuses, including UCSD Triton Days. In her free time, she enjoys crocheting custom hats and toys by creating her own designs. Other hobbies include music, where she would volunteer to provide free music lessons to children who could afford private lessons. Brianna is excited to push the boundaries of STEM by representing her community and paying it forward to help other first-generation children who work as street vendors succeed in education and beyond.
  • Amy P. Nguyen

    Amy P. Nguyen

    Amy P. Nguyen (she/her) is a freshman majoring in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience at Thurgood Marshall College. Amy seeks to study neuroscience in order to explore the “why” and “how” of human behavior. As a curious person, this field of study enables her to dive into and answer endless eccentric questions, as there are still so many puzzles to be solved and much knowledge to be unearthed. Beyond that, she believes that neuroscience is more than a field of scientific inquiry; it extends to understanding and combating social issues such as implicit biases. Through her college journey, Amy aims to continue her devotion to female advocacy and promoting inclusion in STEM. As a first-generation student, she aspires to bring her parents’ dreams as well as her own to fruition and be a role model to others like her, showing them that there are no limits to what they can achieve and that they should settle for nothing less than their dreams when it comes to STEM and beyond.
  • Amy T. Nguyen

    Amy T. Nguyen

    Amy T. Nguyen (she/her) is a first-year studying Chemical Engineering at Seventh College. Amy has had a love for science and math since elementary, but she especially took an interest in the potential of nuclear fusion as an energy source after learning about it in 6th grade. She hopes to conduct research on the topic and contribute to the knowledge of renewable energy sources. Amy has had a long passion for the nuances of STEM, which has been reinforced in rigorous STEM courses, extracurriculars, and an internship at AAA - Auto Club Enterprises. She believes that STEM can be used to empower communities, and hopes to inspire younger girls in STEM in her pursuit of a Bachelor's and Master's degree in Engineering.

  • Kathy Nguyen

    Kathy Nguyen

    Kathy Nguyen (she/her) is a first-year majoring in Clinical Psychology at Eleanor Roosevelt College. Kathy grew up in a household with a culture that does not quite believe in mental health/mental illnesses and the importance of keeping our mental well-being at first priority. Because of this, she has seen and personally experienced different issues with mental health in her family that was never talked about or acknowledged due to tia lesser importance in her family. Kathy is pursuing clinical psychology to further her knowledge and to help diagnose and treat those with mental illnesses. She intends to further her education in either Med School or PA School in order to continue to help treat people for their illnesses/injuries in both mental and physical states.

  • Kaitlyn Ochoa

    Kaitlyn Ochoa

    Kaitlyn Ochoa (she/her) is a first generation college student attending Revelle College majoring in Human Biology. From an early age, it was apparent that Kaitlyn possessed a deep sense of compassion for others and curiosity about the human body. Beyond education, Kaitlyn found many opportunities to apply her knowledge and skills in practical settings. She volunteered at clinics and nursing homes, witnessing the impact of medical professionals and became even more determined to pursue a career in the medical field. She envisions a future where she can provide exceptional care and make a difference in her patient’s lives. Kaitlyn is determined to make a positive impact on the world as she begins her journey at UCSD.

  • Yazmin Ortega

    Yazmin Ortega

    Yazmin Ortega (she/her) is a Mexican American, first-year Cognitive Science with a Neuroscience Specialization major in Sixth College. Yazmin was born in Riverside, CA, and dedicates her studies towards learning about neuroscience to eventually obtain a medical degree, with a specialty in Neurology. Yazmin's passion for neuroscience stems from the inspiration she is given from her family members with disabilities, who embody her goal to help others. Similarly, she finds strength in her family who have sacrificed much to be able to give her the opportunity to pursue an education, as she wishes to give representation back to her community by raising the percentage of Latinas in the medical field. Her specific goal is to help aid communities with inadequate access to reliable healthcare in her career. In college, she hopes to take advantage of the opportunities to not only get involved in medical-related activities like research and internships but in clubs and events as well, while making long-lasting memories.
  • Emily Pan

    Emily Pan

    Emily Pan (she/her) is a first-year majoring in Bioengineering: Biotechnology at Sixth College. She has always loved doing scientific research as well as working with children and hopes to combine these interests in college and beyond. Emily has begun to pursue these passions in high school, whether it's conducting a research project about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on farms and publishing a paper in the Future Farmers of America agriscience research fair, creating protein inhibitors/tracers as an intern at Promega Biosciences, or working with kids through teaching swim lessons and shadowing pediatricians. In the future, she plans to attend medical school and become a pediatrician and/or continue biomedical research as a Ph.D. student. Specifically, she is interested in researching CRISPR gene-based therapeutics and cancer cell metabolisms. She hopes to pursue her passions while being an advocate for children from rural and marginalized communities.

  • Julianna Vega Perez

    Julianna Vega Perez

    Julianna Vega Perez (she/her) is a first-year in Muir college majoring in Biochemistry. She has known for the past few years that she would be going into STEM, especially after her sister got diagnosed with Diabetes Type 1 and after losing her grandmother to cancer. After researching both illnesses, Julianna developed an interest in both biology and chemistry. To further her knowledge, Julianna took part in a pediatric internship at Stanford where she worked in the Translational Genomics of Diabetes Lab with her mentor Dr. Nicole Krentz. Here, she learned more about how genes can impact and control the expression of others. It was here that she realized she wanted to go into medical research in order to help learn more about the different ways that diabetes and cancer can be managed, or even cured.

  • Rafael Mejia-Ramos

    Rafael Mejia-Ramos

    Rafael Mejia-Ramos (he/him) is a first-year student majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology at Revelle College. His passion for STEM first formed when he developed a liking for medicine when volunteering in patient care units. Becoming more aware of the medical environment, he was able to better assist his uncle, who suffered from cirrhosis, and became intrigued with how his medication regulated his disease, increasing Rafael's fascination for Biology and Pharmacology and its complexities. With these experiences, Rafael hopes to either attend medical school to become a doctor or attend graduate school and attain a career in Biotechnology. In either career, he hopes to serve as a reference point for positive change in the STEM industry while also giving back to low-income communities and allowing them to gain the support and resources essential for success. Aside from his main career interest, Rafael also hopes to become a liaison and work with different news organizations so all individuals are informed of the latest advancements in STEM. He believes that having an informed and collective society is the key to help solve problems that the world faces today, and with his contributions, Rafael hopes to inspire all individuals to make a difference to change the world for the better.

  • Leilani Rivera

    Leilani Rivera

    Leilani Rivera (she/her) is a freshman at Earl Warren College majoring in Microbiology. She is excited to start college at UCSD in the fall and learn more about her passion for Biology. She wishes to help someday create vaccines for illnesses that occupy underprivileged communities. Leilani hopes that the knowledge she gains from UCSD will help her make a difference. She believes that by helping others by learning about viruses and illness, she can significantly impact many people's lives. Leilani also can't wait to inspire others to follow their passions and make their mark.

  • Rohan Sachdeva

    Rohan Sachdeva

    Rohan Sachdeva (he/him) is a first-year student majoring in Computer Science at Seventh College. He is inspired by his grandparents who, despite being born into hardship and poverty in villages in India, managed to get government jobs, thereby paving the way for him and his parents to access greater resources in San Jose, California. Growing up there, Rohan discovered a deep passion for mathematics, as well as puzzles and games like Chess, Sudoku, and Rubik's Cubes, which helped him to develop a problem-solving mindset at a young age. By actively taking part in courses, programs, and other opportunities, Rohan enjoyed learning mathematics, programming, engineering, and physics. Throughout high school, Rohan was engaged in the International Space Station Research Lab program where he worked with teams to develop three experiments to send to the International Space Station. Rohan has also led his school's Physics and Advanced Mathematics Clubs and served with organizations inside and outside of school to teach programming, robotics, mathematics, and physics to students of all ages from elementary to college. As a PATHS P6 Scholar studying Computer Science, Rohan hopes to apply new technologies and advancements in the field to make the world a better place and honor the efforts of those who came before him.

  • Nhi Tran

    Nhi Tran

    Nhi Tran (she/her) is a first-year, first-generation Vietnamese student majoring in General Biology at Warren College. She has always loved sciences, and moving to Riverside County during high school allowed her to learn new perspectives through interacting with many underrepresented groups, catalyzing her passions in STEM to advocate for her community. She developed her passion for human health by participating in her local science fair to research the physiological effects of air pollution prevalent in low-income, Southeast Asian communities. She found statistically significant data to support the harmful effects on the human body that many people in her community experienced, spread awareness, and gained further support to form alternative solutions to create a safer environment. Experiencing the gratification of using her actions to promote a healthier environment inspired her to continue advocating for others to ensure all voices are heard and validated. Her lifelong goal is to become a physician-scientist specializing in anesthesiology to lead research in cancer treatment through developing artificial cells to combat cancer cells while also leading direct applications in patient care as an anesthesiologist. Nhi hopes she can inspire future generations, including those in underrepresented groups, that everyone has the ability to impact their community positively and succeed in their educational endeavors in STEM.

  • Anel Munoz Veyna

    Anel Munoz Veyna

    Anel Munoz Veyna (she/her) is a freshman majoring in General Biology at Muir College. She wishes to pursue medicine in the future, specifically oncology. Anel is excited to start this new part of her journey at UCSD, where she seeks to make new friends, memories, and experiences. She is also excited to learn more about genetics and microbiology.
  • Sophia Viorato

    Sophia Viorato

    Sophia Viorato (she/her)is a first-year, first-generation college student from Oxnard, California majoring in Chemical Engineering at Sixth College. Growing up, Sophia was raised to always help people and give back to her community. After witnessing her family experience chronic and genetic illnesses and be burdened by medical costs, Sophia decided on how she would help her community. Her goal with Chemical Engineering is to become a medical researcher focusing on equitably producing and developing pharmaceuticals. Sophia's goal is to cure as many people as possible of their ailments, and by creating affordable treatments, ensure that the people of her community will receive the care they need at prices they can afford.
  • Dorien Geske-Wilson

    Dorien Geske-Wilson

    Dorien Geske-Wilson (he/him) is a first-generation college student majoring in Aerospace Engineering at Sixth College. His love for engineering first stemmed from money, as a way to provide financial support for his family. However, with the exposure to engaging in robotics teams and leading STEM workshops throughout high school, his passion for engineering flourished beyond money. He aspires to take advantage of UCSD's student-led organizations such as the RPL and Triton UAS along with the PATHS program to further his knowledge in the field. And through this knowledge, he wants to establish and promote resources and programs to increase STEM accessibility in lower-income and underrepresented communities. Beyond such, he wants to serve as an inspiration and be a role model to his younger siblings and family members.
  • Sydney Zeng

    Sydney Zeng

    Sydney Zeng (she/her) is a first-year student majoring in General Biology at Eleanor Roosevelt College. Coming from the Bay Area, she has seen the power of diversity first-hand, but also its lack of representation in STEM. Piqued by David Attenborough’s narrations in documentaries, she hopes to uncover the “how’s” and dissect the “why’s” of the intricate way our world works and share this with others. Additionally, she is inspired by the own health disparities she has witnessed in her own community and family. She has recognized how technology has enabled social action at an unprecedented scale. Sydney aims to discover more about the ways science is able to relieve issues around the world, while creating tangible and compassionate solutions easily accessible to all. Sydney hopes of becoming a strong advocate for both the physical and mental well-being of others.

PATHS Alumni

  • Martin Jesus Casas Maya

    Martin Jesus Casas Maya

    Graduation Date: 2021

    Major: General Biology

    Minor: Educational Studies

    Hometown: San Diego, CA

    Cohort: P1

    Update: Lab Technician in Professor Rob Knight’s Biomedical Pediatrics laboratory at UC San Diego. Plans to apply to graduate school.

  • Lizbeth Corona

    Lizbeth Corona

    Graduation Date: 2021

    Major: Human Biology

    Hometown: San Diego, CA

    Cohort: P1

  • Tina Dang

    Tina Dang

    Graduation Date: 2021

    Major: Cognitive Science and Behavioral Neuroscience

    Minor: Ethnic Studies

    Hometown: San Diego, CA

    Cohort: P1

    Update: Research Associate at RARE-X

  • Nicholas Fisher

    Nicholas Fisher

    Graduation Date: 2021

    Major: Cognitive Science with a Specialization in Neuroscience

    Hometown: San Diego, CA

    Cohort: P1

    Update: Internship at Genomatica

  • Haniyeh Javaheri

    Haniyeh Javaheri

    Graduation Date: 2021

    Major: Human Biology

    Minor: Middle Eastern Studies

    Hometown: San Diego, CA

    Cohort: P1

    Update: Summer Internship at Escient Pharmaceuticals

  • Naomi Abraham

    Naomi Abraham

    Graduation Date: 2023

    Major: Biochemistry

    Hometown: San Diego, CA

    Cohort: P1

    Update: Internship at Genomatica

  • Cain Elizarraras

    Cain Elizarraras

    Graduation Date: 2023

    Major: Electrical Engineering

    Minor: Photography

    Hometown: San Diego, CA

    Cohort: P1

  • Jessica Sanchez

    Jessica Sanchez

    Graduation Date: 2023

    Major: Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience

    Hometown: San Diego, CA

    Cohort: P1

  • Jair Isai Cortes Ocampo

    Jair Isai Cortes Ocampo

    Graduation Date: 2023

    Major: Environmental Systems (Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution)

    Hometown: San Diego, CA

    Cohort: P2

  • Ruby Gamboa

    Ruby Gamboa

    Graduation Date: 2023

    Major: Environmental Systems (Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution)

    Hometown: San Diego, CA

    Cohort: P2

    Update: HDH Econauts for Zero Waste Campaigns

  • Arianna Girmai

    Arianna Girmai

    Graduation Date: 2023

    Major: Human Biology

    Hometown: San Diego, CA

    Cohort: P2

    Update: Internship at The La Jolla Institute for Immunology

  • Kenton Guarian

    Kenton Guarian

    Graduation Date: 2023

    Major: Mathematics - Computer Science

    Hometown: San Diego, CA 

    Cohort: P2

    Update: Considering industry work with Microsoft and Nicki Swann’s lab at the University of Oregon.

  • Salma Parra Pulgarin

    Salma Parra Pulgarin

    Graduation Date: 2023

    Majors: Public Health with a Concentration in Epidemiology & Latin American Studies 

    Hometown: San Diego, CA 

    Cohort: P2

    Update: Masters of Public Health in Epidemiology with a certificate in the Social Determinants of Health at Emory's Rollins School of Public Health

  • Emi Sanchez

    Emi Sanchez

    Graduation Date: 2023

    Major: Molecular and Cell Biology

    Hometown: Tijuana, Baja California

    Cohort: P2

    Update: Roa Lab at The La Jolla Institute for Immunology

  • Jasmine Stefanos

    Jasmine Stefanos

    Graduation Date: 2023

    Major: Biochemistry

    Hometown: San Diego, CA

    Cohort: P2

  • Sara Toumi

    Sara Toumi

    Graduation Date: 2023

    Major: Molecular and Cellular Biology

    Hometown: San Diego, CA

    Cohort: P2

    Update: Research at Dr. Bjoern Schwer's Lab (through UCSF's Post Bac program PROPEL) 

  • Mekdelawit Yitayih

    Mekdelawit Yitayih

    Graduation Date: 2023

    Major: General Biology

    Hometown: San Diego, CA

    Cohort: P2

    Update: An accelerated nursing program to become a registered nurse

  • Chao-Li (Michael) Wei

    Chao-Li (Michael) Wei

    Graduation Date: 2023

    Major: Mathematics - Computer Science

    Hometown: La Puente, CA

    Cohort: P3

    Update: Full-time DevOps Engineer at Becton Dickinson

  • Yeabsira Atnafu

    Yeabsira Atnafu

    Graduation Date: 2024

    Major: Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience

    Hometown: San Diego, CA

    Cohort: P2