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Meet Our Scholarship Students

The University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health awarded scholarships to 60 students for the 2018-19 academic year.

The University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health awarded scholarships to 60 students for the 2018-19 academic year.

Four of the students who spoke at the event shared the story of their personal journey in pursuit of higher education. From left, Chris Tisch, assistant dean of academic affairs; Graciela (Zonnie) Olivas, Nicolas Lopez-Galvez, Dean Iman Hakim; Priscila Ruedas; and Dora Valencia.

Thanks to the generosity of our donors, the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health was able to award 60 scholarships for the 2018-19 academic year. 

Our students and their benefactors gathered together to share a meal and connect a face to the name to complete the circle of giving at the annual Scholarship Luncheon held at Hacienda Del Sol in Tucson on Nov. 15.

It is a day when we express our deep gratitude to those who generously open doors for our students in need. We celebrate the students, many of whom have risen above great odds to pursue their college degree. We acknowledge that without the help of donor support, the dreams of a higher education and a better future may not have been possible.

“This event is truly the highlight of our year and represents what we are all about,” said Iman Hakim, dean and professor of the UA Zuckerman College of Public Health. “Matching the passion of our donors with our students that have a dream to earn a degree and make an impact on the world through public health.”

Meet four of our scholarship students who spoke at the event.

Graciela (Zonnie) Olivas
Degree/Concentration: BS – Public Health, Pre-Health Thematic Minor
Awards: Chicanos Por La Causa/Zuckerman Family Foundation Scholarship; Dr. Erlinda Tejada Rodriquez Scholarship: The Victoria Foundation, Mel and Enid Zuckerman Scholarship
Zonnie’s academic interests include participating in minority health research serving Latino and Native American populations. Zonnie plans to pursue an MPH in Epidemiology and possibly further her education with a doctorate or professional degree. Her career goals include using her education to give back to underserved Arizona communities and address the health disparities these populations face. She believes that continuing her education will help her acquire both the knowledge and expertise needed to view health on a wider scope of practice and achieve improvements in overall community health.

Nicolas Lopez-Galvez
Degree/Concentration: PhD – Environmental Health Sciences
Award: College of Public Health Community Advisory Board Scholarship
Nicolas is grateful to the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health for giving him the opportunity to develop his research skills in different environmental health projects in order for him to reach his final objective of serving the marginalized communities along the U.S.-Mexico border region. His current research project and dissertation focuses on migrant farmworkers’ exposure to heat and pesticides and the association of these occupational risk factors to health outcomes such as chronic kidney disease. After completing his PhD, Nicolas plans to stay in academia to research methods to improve the working and living conditions of migrant farmworkers.

Priscila Ruedas
Degree: BS – Public Health
Awards: Hispanic Women’s Corporation/Zuckerman Family Foundation/The Victoria Foundation Student Scholarship; Lorriane H. Lee Chicanos Por La Causa Scholarship
Priscila plans to pursue a dual JD/MPH degree and work in immigration law. Her career goals are to serve the Hispanic community by focusing on border health disparities and bridge the gaps in Latinx population’s health outcomes in the U.S. by bringing awareness, resources and policy change in favor of the Latinx community.

Dora Valencia
Degree: MPH – Family and Child Health
Award: SueBob Scholars Endowment
Dora’s academic interests include global health, French and Francophone Studies, and breast cancer epidemiology research. She hopes to work for the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) in order to expand cancer prevention strategies across Latin America.

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