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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 4+ year round pilot program, receiving a comprehensive package of student support components to address financial, cultural and academic barriers.


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

  • Naomi Abraham

    Naomi Abraham

    Naomi Abraham is a fourth-year majoring in Biochemistry in the Division of Chemistry and Biochemistry. She has worked in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Burkart studying the synthesis of organic chemical compounds. Her research focuses on polyketide enzyme modification and how enzyme form impacts function. Polyketides are naturally produced organic molecules that have antimicrobial and immunosuppressive properties and are often employed in drug discovery research. Naomi is driven to medical research by a strong sense of humanitarianism and ethics and believes that through chemistry, she can help provide relief to those in need. She plans to pursue a doctorate in biochemistry working on discovering new drugs for diabetes and cancer. As a first-generation Eritrean-American and first-generation college student, Naomi is dedicated to honoring those communities she came from by serving as an advocate in health care and improving their access to health care education. She currently serves as a College Ambassador for the Office of Admissions and Orientation Leader within John Muir College and intends to pursue more leadership roles at UC San Diego. Naomi is passionate about civil liberties and international human rights and believes in health care accessibility and equity regardless of citizenship and socioeconomic status.
  • Martin Jesus Casas Maya

    Martin Jesus Casas Maya

    Martin Jesus Casas-Maya is a fourth-year majoring in General Biology and minoring in Educational Studies. He most recently served as a research assistant in Professor Rob Knight’s Biomedical Pediatrics laboratory. His research seeks to answer fundamental questions concerning the compositional evolution of biomolecules, genomes, and communities across ecosystems, including the complex microbiome of the human body. Martin has long been interested in the mysterious microbial community inhabiting our intestines and continues to be fascinated by its association with diseases such as diabetes, obesity, and even depression. He intends to pursue a medical degree, and is also highly interested in scientific research. In 2021, Martin participated in the Genentech Summer Research Program, a program geared to promote advancement of scholars from underrepresented backgrounds. As a DACA recipient from Mexico City and a first-generation student from a disadvantaged socioeconomic background, Martin has faced many struggles that have inspired him to be a positive influence for other students from disadvantaged backgrounds who aspire to a career in science.

  • Lizbeth Corona

    Lizbeth Corona

    Lizbeth Natalie Corona is a senior majoring in Human Biology. She has worked on the investigation of genetic causes and treatments for pediatric diseases in Dr. Joseph Gleeson’s laboratory at the UC San Diego School of Medicine. Lizbeth has had the opportunity to help people around her, including helping in a hospital in her community and aspires to be part of the medical field to make an impact on disadvantaged communities who lack proper healthcare. As a first generation student and the oldest of five, Lizbeth is determined to be a role model and help her community understand that anything is possible in life when there is desire. Lizbeth is the Secretary of Ballet Folklorico La Joya de Mexico and believes that reflecting on your unique background and past experiences will lead you to love and connect with the diverse community around you. 

  • Tina Dang

    Tina Dang

    Tina Quynh Nhi Dang is a senior majoring in Cognitive Science and Behavioral Neuroscience. She is interested in research around mindfulness, mediation, and body awareness. Tina plans to pursue a Ph.D in Psychology with an emphasis on Behavioral Neuroscience and hopes to work and advocate for victims of violent crimes. As a first-generation student from an underrepresented community, she looks forward to serving as a mentor and advocate to the youth from the San Diego Community. She is a huge advocate for psychological and emotional well-being and is determined to normalize the conversations around mental health and strives to integrate the conversations within UCSD, PATHS, peers, family and in her community.
  • Cain Elizarraras

    Cain Elizarraras

    Caín Alexander Elizarraras Galván is a senior majoring in electrical engineering and minoring in photography. He is currently at Viacyte working on the design and development of encapsulation devices for insulin delivery. Caín gained an interest in technology at a young age by shadowing his father while he worked on old radios and televisions on the patio. He intends to pursue a doctorate combining his two passions: electrical engineering and photography. Cain is interested in developing new image sensors for cameras. In 2019 and 2020, Caín joined the STARS graduate program, which offers valuable resources for students intent on graduate school. Caín faced much adversity being a first-generation Chicano college student from the low-income community of City Heights and so he strives to advocate for and mentor students of similar backgrounds. As a P1 Scholar, he is a guide for P3 Jessica De La Torre and their navigation through UCSD.

  • Nicholas Fisher

    Nicholas Fisher

    Nicholas Fisher is a fourth-year student in Muir College, majoring in Cognitive Science with a specialization in Neuroscience. Upon entering UC San Diego, he became very interested in computational languages to understand neurological processes. As part of the STARS Program, Nick worked in Dr. Voytek’s Research Lab using the computational language Python to study patterns in neural activity across hundreds of electroencephalographs (EEGs). Currently he is interning at Genomatica, a biotech company in La Jolla, where he learns about the analyses of metabolites. He plans to pursue a medical degree after his undergrad with a focus in endocrinology and myology. Nick grew up in the diverse community of Mira Mesa in San Diego. He was involved in Read Across America, an outreach opportunity where he provided a creative outlet for grade school students through reading. It was rewarding for him to see how excited and interested younger students become when fun learning activities were implemented. He envisions a similar program, STEM Across America, for science and technology hoping to make this initiative a reality. Nicholas highly values giving everyone the opportunity to engage creativity in the learning process.

  • Deka Ismail

    Deka Ismail

    Deka Ismail is a senior in Revelle college majoring in molecular biology with a minor in public health. She has worked in the research laboratory of Dr. Deidre Lyons at the Scripps Institute of Oceanography. The Lyons laboratory focuses on how cell-cell adhesion dynamics during development influence patterns of cell differentiation in echinoderms (sea stars, sea urchins) and mollusks. She intends to pursue a doctorate in molecular biology studying cell-cell communication in the development of disorders like diabetes. In 2018, she received the Social Impact scholarship at the Third Annual Global Empowerment Summit: Time to Rise for her work with food equity in the San Diego Unified School District, ensuring public access to halal and vegetarian options. Deka was also highly involved with the National Conflict Resolution Center, through their Restorative Justices Practices program implemented on campuses across the SDUSD. As a first-generation college student Deka is passionate about using her education for advocacy work in her community of City Heights. She is a strong proponent of increasing diversity in and access to higher education, a space that has been historically inaccessible to low-income communities of color. 
  • Haniyeh Javaheri

    Haniyeh Javaheri

    Haniyeh Javaheri is a senior pursuing a degree in Human Biology and minoring in Middle East Studies at Thurgood Marshall College. She intends to attend medical school and pursue a career as a radiologist. In 2020, she earned experience working with the laboratory of Dr. Amir Zarrinpar, within the Medicine department of the UC San Diego Altman Clinical & Translational Research Institute. She worked on a Retrospective literature review for Microbiome Circadian Dynamics Project which helped her to accomplish Python coding skills developments and data collections developments. Currently working on her second project with Drs. Amir Zarrinpar & Rob Knight to figure out whether scientists could identify individuals under the age of 50 who may be at high risk for developing colon cancer. Haniyeh also serves as a volunteer at the Scripps Mercy Hospital, shadowing a radiologist. She is a Public Relations Director in the Students for Open Access organization at UCSD. She manages interactions with the student body, such as member recruitment, production, and distribution of info materials, surveys if needed, event advertising, club flyers, general body meeting announcements, etc. Moreover, Haniyeh is currently a member of the International Health Collective (HIC) organization at UCSD to improve the efficiency, operation, and organization of the pharmacy during clinics; provide the community of Tijuana-Progreso with health and medication education (side effects, usage, recognition) on commonly prescribed drugs. In Health and Medical Professions Peer Mentoring Program (UCSD PMP) and PATHS Mentor-Mentee Program, she is mentoring first-year students who started their journey remotely at UCSD and struggled with online courses during the pandemic time. Also, as a mentor, she takes care of the academic and mental issues that mentees might face up with and try to guide them with the previous experiences.

    Haniyeh emigrated with her mother from Afghanistan when she was nine years old so she could pursue the education denied to her as a woman. She lived in Turkey for seven years before coming to the United States, so she speaks fluent Persian, Turkish, and English and brings a cross-cultural understanding to campus. Haniyeh aspires to be an agent of change.

  • Ruby Rios

    Ruby Rios

    Ruby Rios is a fourth year Biochemistry/Chemistry 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 two 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.
  • Jessica Sanchez

    Jessica Sanchez

    Jessica Sanchez is a third year majoring in Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience. Jess is currently working in the behavioral neuroscience laboratory of Brenda Bloodgood. Jess comes from Tijuana, Mexico and she was always aware of the inadequacy of academic opportunities at home. As a first-generation college student, she looks forward to giving back to the San Diego community and particularly to its underserved students whose hard work entices them to pursue careers in STEM. Jess was a PATHS ambassador in the Alternative Breaks Civic Engagement program that traveled to Washington D.C. to engage promising students in the world of policy and civil service. 

P2 Scholars

  • Yeabsira Atnafu

    Yeabsira Atnafu

    Yeabsira is a third-year Cognitive and Behavioral Neuroscience major and a proud first-generation student. Yeabsira has lived with epilepsy, a neurological condition, since a young age, and this has propelled her to study neurology and its relation to perception and behavior. She feels compelled to address misconceptions of neurological diseases since the varying impacts of certain illnesses are often broadly misunderstood. By developing a better understanding of neurological conditions, as well as their distinction from other health conditions, she wants to help ameliorate the severe impacts caused by neurological conditions on the lives of those affected. Yeabsira is also passionate about expanding her vision on a global scale and collaborating across international lines. She wants to serve not only her community in San Diego but also communities across the world that need improved access to health care. Yeabsira is certain that the PATHS program is the first step to achieve her career aspirations.
  • Jair Isai Cortes Ocampo

    Jair Isai Cortes Ocampo

    Jair Isai Cortes Ocampo is a first-generation Chicano student majoring in Environmental Systems (Ecology, Behavior & Evolution). He is currently working with the California Sea Grant at Scripps Institute of Oceanography focusing on environmental issues and healthier communities. He has previously worked with the Southwest Fisheries Science Center (NMFS/NOAA) under the guidance of five diverse researchers studying marine mammals and turtles, fisheries ecology, sustainable markets, ocean acoustics and public education. Jair intends to pursue his interests in supporting vulnerable ecosystems and coastal communities in underserved areas. In doing so, Jair plans on engaging BIPOC youth through science communication by sharing his experiences with students at ProKids | The First Tee of San Diego, and Ocean Discovery Institute in order to inspire future scientists and designers.

  • Ruby Gamboa

    Ruby Gamboa

    Ruby Leigh Gamboa is a junior majoring in Environmental Systems: Ecology, Behavior and Evolution at Muir College. Being a Mexican-American first generation college student, she plans to advocate for fellow underrepresented youth in STEM. Ruby’s research interests include creating and innovating sustainable technologies, as well as creating cleaner alternatives to implement into lower income communities. She has previously worked in the Deheyn lab at Scripps Institute of Oceanography on the thermal capabilities of bird feathers, and how this research could be applied to thermal protective equipment such as paints. Currently, she interns at Genomatica, a San Diego-based biotechnology company that develops more sustainable, bio based processes to implement into current mass produced products such as cosmetics and single use plastics. As well, Ruby is apart of the Econauts in the Housing, Dining, and Hospitality Sustainability sector of UCSD. Econauts aims to make UCSD’s campus more sustainable, and has introduced more eco-friendly alternatives to items sold on campus as well as eliminating single use plastics from dining halls. Ruby also has a drive for giving back to the San Diego community, and is currently the Weekends Event Chair for the Muir Volunteer program on campus.

  • Arianna Girmai

    Arianna Girmai

    Arianna Girmai is majoring in Human Biology at Eleanor Roosevelt College. Arianna is a first-generation college student, as her mother encountered many hardships early in her life that precluded her from attending college. The challenges her mother faced inspired Arianna to attend college. Arianna is interested in pursuing a career as a pediatric surgeon; she loves the energy children radiate which is why she sees a future working with kids. She says, "They are a bit shy at first (who isn't), but once they begin to open up to you, you can build a beautiful relationship with them." While she is unsure in which branch of pediatric surgery she will specialize in, she knows her experiences at UC San Diego will help her decide. One of Arianna's long term goals is to extend her services at little to no cost because hospital bills can be overwhelmingly unaffordable. 

  • Kenton Guarian

    Kenton Guarian

    Kenton Guarian is a junior PATHS Scholar. He is joint-majoring in mathematics and computer science. His biggest goal is to see life livable, enjoyable, and/or productive for everyone who wants to live, enjoy life, and/or be productive. Kenton enjoys competition, learning immediately useful information, and earning a feeling that he's optimising the human experience for as many people as possible. Kenton recognises that a plethora of unavoidable barriers frivolously renders the general act of maintaining and enjoying their lives and acting productively as they see fit by completing the same structural tasks impossible for different people. He believes that this is unjust, and is predisposed to support anyone who is oppressed in this way and more. This is irrespective of the convenience of the entity which sets or maintains these barriers.

  • Mabel Munoz

    Mabel Munoz

    Mabel Munoz (she/hers) is in her third undergraduate year at UC San Diego double majoring in Business Psychology and Sociology in Muir College. She is a proud scholar of the PATHs P2 cohort, San Diego Education Fund, and Hispanic Scholarship Fund. Mabel further serves her communities as the Oasis-RMTL Student Coordinator, Director of Operations and Resources for the Student Sustainability Collective, and more recently as Project Management Intern at ViaCyte. Mabel grew up in Baja California Sur, Mexico and City Heights, San Diego as a first-generation Mexican-American. Being born to a single father in low-income communities distinctly catalyzed her purpose at a young age to profoundly improve the lives of people with health issues, bring people together in meaningful ways, and positively affect change in the healthcare field. To do this, Mabel is taking a diverse approach through her degree plan in studying the human mind, society, and workplaces/business. As a student who struggles with syringomyelia, a chronic health disability, Mabel intricately understands the importance of actualizing your goals as she quickly moves through college and is one step closer to becoming a part of a senior and executive management health team where she can work the necessary change from within. Until then, she will continue to recast and affirm the lives of people with health issues, especially BIPOC, as unstoppable, worthy beings with full futures. In addition, Mabel hopes to inspire her fellow South East San Diego Chicanx and Latinx communities on an intimate level to, "not hold back on being yourself but instead incorporate all of your identities in what you do.”
  • Salma Parra

    Salma Parra

    Salma Parra Pulgarin is a third year, first generation Mexican American student double majoring in Public Health with a concentration in Epidemiology and Latin American Studies. Salma was born and raised in the diverse, low-income community of City Heights, San Diego where early on, she noticed the detrimental diseases and the health disparities that are so prominent in underserved communities. She has seen first-hand, with experiences of her own family members, how the outcomes of certain diseases are worsened among diverse, low income, minority individuals compared to their non-disadvantaged counterparts. Her ultimate educational goal is to get a PhD in Epidemiology and be able to conduct research and clinical trials on a variety of possible treatments and interventions for diseases that disproportionately affect individuals from underserved communities like diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. She is currently a Biology Intern at Escient Pharmaceuticals, whose focus is on revealing the therapeutic potential of GPCRs, including Mas-Related G-Protein Receptors and is first pursuing medicines for autoreactive and neuro-immuno-inflammatory diseases. As a first-generation student with a disadvantaged background, Salma strives to be an advocate for diversity in STEM and to empower other students from backgrounds such as hers to pursue careers in the field and see the positive changes that they can create in the world.

  • Emi Sanchez

    Emi Sanchez

    Emi Sanchez is a third year Scholar majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology at Eleanor Roosevelt College. Emi grew up in Tijuana, Baja California where she undeniably witnessed the poor conditions of medical facilities and inadequate healthcare quality provided to underprivileged communities. Her pursuit for an M.D./Ph.D. stems from her desire to function as a leader and advocate of accessible healthcare in addition to her passion for groundbreaking scientific research. She is currently working under the guidance of Dr. Hemal Patel investigating the effects of the overexpression of Cav-3-OE in mice, a muscle-specific caveolin that has been associated with cardioprotective characteristics. She has also worked under Dr. Kamil Godula whose research aims to gain an understanding of glycans, or carbohydrates, through the use of synthetic mucin mimetics in microarrays modeled to resemble the glycocalyx. As a first-generation biracial college student, Emi strives to serve as an advocate of diversity and equity in the STEM field, especially among higher education institutions. Programs such as PATHS have allowed Emi to realize her potential in a university setting, giving her access to a range of opportunities such as mentorship and networking that are vital to a student’s success.

  • Jasmine Stefanos

    Jasmine Stefanos

    Jasmine Stefanos is a third year, first-generation Eritrean-American majoring in Biochemistry. At a young age, Jasmine was exposed to science and it prompted her to pursue a STEM-related career path. Jasmine is interested in pursuing a career in pharmaceutical science or biochemistry research. She is particularly drawn to drug-discovery research for cancer and diabetes, disorders that impact the lives of millions of peoples, especially those within disadvantaged communities. Jasmine also hopes to head her own research laboratory and focus on making medication accessible and equitable. She believes that the PATHS Program will expose her to more opportunities to further her knowledge of medicine and research. Jasmine loves giving back to the community and her goal is to be the change that she wants to see in STEM. She wants to be able to support her peers and steer them away from the discouragement that constantly seems to surround people of an underserved background. Jasmine hopes to be a role model to youth and future PATHS Scholars who don’t see scientists who look like them and remind them that minorities do belong in STEM and that they have so much to offer.

  • Sara Toumi

    Sara Toumi

    Sara Toumi is a third year Molecular and Cellular Biology major at Muir college. She is minoring in Bioethics to study moral practice within medical and biological research. She is a first-generation Moroccan-American and the eldest child of her family. Sara is passionate about the involvement of women of color in STEM and hopes to become an active researcher in genomic science. She took part in the Muir Volunteer Program Board as the Quarterly Co-Chair and is now an undergraduate peer reviewer and the outreach coordinator for the Challenger Research Journal. Sara is looking forward to empowering other underrepresented students in her community who also aspire to pursue a career in STEM.

  • Mekdelawit Yitayih

    Mekdelawit Yitayih

    Mekdelawit Yitayih is a second year General Biology major at Muir College. Mekdelawit emigrated to the United States at the beginning of her first year of high school and it was one of the major changes that happened in her life. Adjustment to a completely different environment was a challenge at first but she made sure to remember her purpose for coming to the United States. She came here for the opportunity to obtain an excellent education so she can return to her country of origin and other medically underserved communities and help those communities obtain adequate access to medical treatment. Mekdelawit is here today to show that she is capable of doing anything as long as she continues to work hard. She plans on becoming a Pediatrician and helping her community as much as she can with her career. As a first-generation student, Mekdelawit wants to be a role model for similar students who have a passion for science and humanitarianism so that they can work and support each other in their endeavors.

P3 Scholars

  • Stephanie Barajas

    Stephanie Barajas

    Stephanie Barajas is a second-year chemical engineering major and first-generation student. She is interested in the field of medicine, with the hope of attending medical school and specializing in neurosurgery or cardiothoracic surgery. Her aspiration to become an attending physician stems from the medical experiences she had with her grandparents. From numerous doctors' appointments her grandparents had, Stephanie was able to get an in-depth look at the diverse professions in the medical field. She is currently gaining medical experience by working and researching under the guidance of Dr. Hightower, an esteemed doctor specializing in pediatric dermatology. Stephanie hopes to work her way up to making important contributions to the research involved in the field of medicine. 

  • Jessica De La Torre

    Jessica De La Torre

    Jessica De La Torre is a second year student majoring in Mechanical Engineering at Warren College. She is interested in researching ways to increase accessibility on highly demanded products, such as automobiles and medical devices, while reducing detrimental costs on environments and health. Her interest in mechanical engineering came from her community in South Gate, which has suffered from the impacts of excessive vehicles and pollution, to the extent where the residents and their health have been compromised and lack the resources to target the issues. Jessica aspires to attain her Masters in Mechanical Engineering in the future. As a first-generation Latina, Jessica hopes to encourage and support individuals from similar backgrounds in pursuing their interests. After college, she intends to return to South Gate and continue serving her community and increase awareness and opportunities for youth.
  • Melissa Güereca

    Melissa Güereca

    Melissa Güereca is a second-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 Gwynn

    Mickey Gwynn

    Mickey Gwynn(They/Them) is a second-year chemistry 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, second-year/first generation college student and an environmental engineering 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 second-year student at Revelle College majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology, with an intended minor in Chicanx Studies. As a sophomore, Anasilvia plans to gain as much exposure as she can from all of her professors, specifically in STEM, to feed her curiosity of biological systems. While pursuing her studies, she plans on dedicating her time to on-campus physiological research as a means to understanding human health and developing health-aids. Anasilvia is determined to attain a MD-PhD degree to weave research into her medical practices. She hopes to reveal underlying components through her eventual investigations to provide improved care - especially in underserved communities in Mexico and San Diego. As the daughter of Mexican immigrants, Anasilvia is passionate about giving back to her communities and delivering quality, holistic healthcare to those without equitable resources.
  • Henry Luu

    Henry Luu

    Henry Luu is a second-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 second-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

    Judy Mohamad is a first-generation college student majoring in Mechanical Engineering with a specialization in controls and robotics at Warren College. She is a member of a robotics student organization called Triton Robotics and is currently working in a sub-team to design and control a projectile-shooting hexacopter drone from scratch. In 2021, she stared working under Dr. Mike Tolley's Bioinspired Robotics and Design Lab and worked on integrating pneumatically actuated "soft feet" onto rigid animal robots to help stabilize them as they walk. In Summer 2021, she participated in STARS graduate research program and worked in Dr. Jinhye Bae's Nanoengineering lab and studied photo-thermally responsive hydrogels. Judy grew up in the war-torn and heavily polluted country of Syria and became passionate about making renewable energy more affordable and accessible to developing countries. She hopes to work in automation for manufacturing liquid metal batteries to lower the cost of renewable energy storage.
  • Angelica Moreno

    Angelica Moreno

    Angelica Isabel Moreno is a sophomore majoring in Biochemistry. Angelica is a proud first-generation college student thankful to have parents who worked to move to a country with better educational opportunities. She is passionate about addressing and fixing the disparities in healthcare as well as health education for disease prevention. Living in a minority community with little to no access to affordable or quality healthcare taught her how low income-of-color communities are greatly affected by this. Angelica plans to pursue a career in cardiothoracic surgery and working on streamlining early detection for heart related diseases. She plans on doing this by conducting research to make it easier to detect and providing resources to make it more accessible. Angelica hopes that with greater access to quality healthcare in impoverished communities, preventive medicine will become their primary care source and will reduce the need for palliative and curative care in the future!
  • Angie Santos

    Angie Santos

    Angie Santos is a second-year student majoring in Biochemistry 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 sophomore majoring in Molecular and Cellular 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 second 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.
  • Chao-Li (Michael) Wei

    Chao-Li (Michael) Wei

    Michael Wei is a sophomore majoring in Mathematics-Computer Science at Eleanor Roosevelt College. Michael chose this major to better understand the principles of machine learning, which he is very passionate about. To be better at machine learning, Michael is actively taking courses online about machine learning, becoming the project lead and events chair at NeuroTech club at UCSD, and a lab assistant at TNEL. Michael's potential was limited due to the lack of resources he had when he emigrated to the US during high school. Michael understood the importance of equity and diversity in STEM and decided to help the unrepresented population to discover their passion for STEM like himself.

  • Celine Yang

    Celine Yang

    Celine Yang is a second-year student majoring in General Biology at Revelle College. Although she is interested in many career paths, she currently plans to attend medical school after her undergraduate years. At UC San Diego, she intends to deepen her passion for biology and continue exploring biomedical and clinical research, ethics in biology, and health inequities and disparities. As of right now, Celine aspires to be a traveling physician who can provide adequate healthcare to underserved communities domestically and abroad. All in all, she is excited to see how she will continue to grow in STEM at UC San Diego with the support from PATHS and mentors.

P4 Scholars

  • Nicholas Azpeitia

    Nicholas Azpeitia

    Nicholas Azpeitia (he/him) is an incoming first-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 first 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 first-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 first year Neurobiology major in Revelle College. Herpassion 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 an incoming first 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 first-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 first-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 currently majoring in Applied Mathematics at Sixth college. Since childhood, she dreamed of becoming a pastry chef, but it wasn't until her junior year of high school when she gained interest in the field of mathematics. Leena plans to pursue data science as she is fascinated by its application in various fields. Though she is still exploring her newly found passion, she hopes to encourage and support other underrepresented women in STEM who may have also felt discouraged from their career interests.
  • Manal Mohamad

    Manal Mohamed (She/her/hers) is a first year, first-generation student majoring in Human Biology at Earl Warren College. Manal immigrated to the United States at the age of seven and faced many adversities but never failed to give up despite the language barrier. Her passion for medicine and finding a cure for diseases came from taking biology courses at school and observing her loved ones being sick. She hopes to end diseases and to help her community to strive for a better version. Manal, like many other immigrant students, noticed how the medical field lacks diversity and has seen some patients being prioritized more than others, usually, people of color having longer wait times. She hopes to use her biology degree to break barriers in the medical field and to be a role model for other Muslim ladies.
  • Mark Morera

    Mark Morera

    Mark Morera (he/him) is a first year ECE: Computer Engineering major 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 an incoming freshman 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 first year Scholar and first-generation student majoring in Molecular and Cell Biology at Marshall College. 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 the lack of  resources (healthcare, education, identity, etc). Her goal in STEM is to gain laboratory experience in order to work towards being a stem cell biologist or biomedical engineer, utilizing the study of cells to gain a deeper understanding of diseases. Knowing that accessible healthcare is unequally distributed to different groups of people, she wants to travel to developing countries to help with the lack of medical equipment in hospitals by designing new devices. These ambitions stem from her parents’ poverty-stricken experiences in Cambodia with little to no resources and being involved in multiple community service organizations at her high school. Through PATHS and UC San Diego, 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 first 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 first-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 an incoming freshman 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 first-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 first-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 first-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 first year in Revelle College majoring in physics to pursue a career as a physicist. Jorge has always been interested in understanding how and why our world works the way it does. Physics 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 freshman 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.