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University Students Embark on Summer Research Internships

BROWNSVILLE, TEXAS – MAY 31,2013 – Daniela Naylor, 20, a junior biology major from Brownsville at The University of Texas at Brownsville, hopes her summer internship can help her prepare to take the Dental Admission Test later this year.

Naylor was selected to attend this summer the Aetna Health Professions Partnership Initiative, Dental Track at the University of Connecticut Health Center in Farmington, Conn.

UTB students Ramiro Tovar and Erica DeLeon work in a laboratory in the Biomedical Research Building
UTB students Ramiro Tovar and Erica DeLeon work in a laboratory in the Biomedical Research Building
“It’s like an 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. day,” said Naylor, a graduate of Brownsville’s Hanna High School. “In the morning I will be taking a Kaplan course they pay for. They cover each part of the test. The rest of the afternoon we shadow a dentist at the clinic and attend seminars and hear guest speakers.”

Naylor is a member of the Health Disparities Scholars Program in the College of Biomedical Sciences. The program, which launched last August, is made of students in all classifications majoring in science and engineering fields and combines mentoring, laboratory research, workshops and a senior thesis on a health-related problem. Program students are required to take Advanced Microscopy and Biomedical Research I.

“They taught us about networking and how to present a research poster, things helpful in the lab,” said Naylor, who is also a member of the Houston Early Dental School Admissions Program in the Office of Health Professions Careers in the College of Science, Mathematics and Technology.

Health Disparities students were required to apply summer internships.

“Summer research internships give our students the chance to network with faculty at other institutions and build a reputation for themselves as well as affording our students the opportunity to explore each campus, helping them to decide where they would like to pursue post-baccalaureate education,” said Dr. Kari Brewer Savannah, Director of the Health Disparities Scholars Program. “Our students who participate in these summer research internships also help to spread awareness of UTB, our Health Disparities Scholars Program and the high caliber of our students.”

Jose Mario Rodriguez, 20, a junior biomedical science major from Brownsville and graduate of St. Joseph Academy, will not venture far for his summer experience. He will be part of the Cancer Prevention & Research Institute of Texas CURE Program at The University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

During the two-month program Rodriguez will be mentored and conduct research on DNA repair. At the end of the internship he will present a poster to student colleagues and faculty members.

“Cancer is really big and M.D. Anderson does top international research on cancer,” said Rodriguez, also a member of the Minority Biomedical Research Support, Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement. “It’s well known. Any work I do there will look good on my curriculum.”

Other Health Disparities students and their summer internships include:

• Carolina Alvarez of Brownsville: Pre-Medical Allied Health Academic Achievement and Retention Program – The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
• Adelaeda Barrera of Brownsville: CLIMB-UP for Summer Research at the University of Buffalo in New York
• Cecilia Colom and Myriam Hinojosa, both of Brownsville: King Foundation Texas High School Summer Program at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
• Erica DeLeon of Rio Hondo: Summer Undergraduate Research Program at Princeton University
• Miriam DeLeon of Matamoros and Karina Correa of Brownsville and Reynosa, Mexico: Summer Research Internship – The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Public Health – Brownsville Regional Campus
• Andrea Delgado of McAllen, Andrea Fragoso of Matamoros, Mexico and Ashley Garza, Yazmin Hernandez and Ramiro Tovar, all of Brownsville: MD/PhD Pilot Summer Research Program at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
• Ian Gonzalez of Brownsville: Summer Medical and Dental Enrichment Program at The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston
• Anna Kuklina of Yoshkar-Ola, Mari El, Russia: Summer Student Research Program at Methodist Hospital Research Institute in Houston
• Brandon Muniz of San Benito: Medical School Matriculation Program at UTMB
• Miriam Ortega and Marcos Perez, both of Matamoros: Cancer Prevention and Research Institute of Texas CURE Program at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center
• Emmanuel Rosas of Brownsville: Biomedical Sciences Summer Research Internship for Minority Students at Marshall University in West Virginia

For more information on the Health Disparities Scholars Program contact Department of Biomedicine Student Education Coordinators Claudia Guajardo and Heidy Moreno at 956-882-5823 or or


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