Youth Advisory Board Members

The Center for Community Health Equity is excited to be working with Chicago Scholars to engage young adults in the planning and direction of the health equity work of the Center.

Academic Year 2019-2020

Valerie Alvanez

School: Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep
Grade: Senior
Organization: Chicago Scholars

I am a senior at Gwendolyn Brooks College Prep.  I will be majoring in biological sciences and pre-medical sciences in order to pursue a career as a physician later on in life.  Serving as a volunteer and intern at La Rabida Children’s Hospital and Norwegian American Hospital, I find that the topic of health disparities has come up frequently.  I aspire to one day be able to provide pro-bono medical assistance to marginalized communities because proper health care should be a right, not a privilege.

Eryk Brown

School: George Westinghouse College Prep
Grade: Senior
Organization: Chicago Scholars

My name is Eryk Brown and I attend George Westinghouse College Prep.  I am currently a senior and plan on majoring in nursing for my undergraduate work.  I have a very strong passion about creating equal healthcare and for all people no matter the race, gender, social status, or other defining characteristics.  I love my community and will do whatever it takes to make it as equivalent as the downtown area or suburban areas.

Cristian Carpio

School: Walter Payton College Prep
Grade: Senior
Organization: Chicago Scholars

I am a senior at Walter Payton College Prep.  I am interested in pursuing a medical career.  Aside from some exposure to basic science, I am interest in the clinical side of medicine and understanding the ways equity can be implemented in our communities.

Samiyyah Hardison

School: Kenwood Academy
Grade: Senior
Organization: Chicago Scholars

I am currently a senior at Kenwood Academy High School, located in the Hyde Park neighborhood.  I have the aspiration of becoming a surgeon while conducting research centered on identifying the gene mutations that makes people susceptible to diseases such as cancer.  In addition, I want to be an advocate for health equity for those who do not receive adequate health care.  My planned main focus is neurology, cardiology, and oncology.

Christeena JojoChristeena Jojo

School: University of Wisconsin-Madison
Grade: Sophomore
Organization: Chicago Scholars

My name is Christeena Jojo and I am a sophomore at UW-Madison. I am studying Health Promotion and Health Equity (HPHE) and Psychology with a certificate in Global Health. Serving as a volunteer, I grew interested in becoming a physician and I hope to reduce the gap of health inequities within the communities through advocacy and policy.

Daniela Luna

School: Acero Garcia High School
Grade: Senior
Organization: Chicago Scholars

My name is Daniela Luna.  I am currently in the Class of 2020 at Acero Garcia High School.  My goal is to become a nurse in one of Chicago’s hospitals.  What I would like to get out of this program is to enhance the lives of many minorities in terms of the health community because, being a nurse, you are exposed to different people.  So, I want to get to know more about different people’s backgrounds.

Ashley Mecollari

School: DePaul University
Grade: Sophomore
Organization: Chicago Scholars Alumni

I am a current sophomore at DePaul University studying business administration with a minor in public health.  I was born and raised in Chicago so I am well aware of the unjust divisions in communities across the City.  Health care is a subject I am very passionate about and this program will allow me to combine my background knowledge in available resources to hopefully implement solutions in lower-income communities exposed to health inequities to ensure the greater well-being of all community residents.  I hope to utilize the experiences I accumulated thus far to implement new health care centers in lower income communities for preventative purposes.

Jocelyn Miranda

School: Solorio Academy High School
Grade: Senior
Organization: Chicago Scholars

I am a senior at Solorio Academy High School on the southwest side of Chicago.  My family immigrated from Mexico.  I aspire to have a career in the medical field.  Although I do not know what I want to focus on in terms of a career, I know that I want to work in health equity and/or public health.

Angelica Pena

School: Pritzker College Prep
Grade: Senior
Organization: Chicago Scholars

I am a senior in Pritzker College Prep.  I lived in Hermosa.  In my free time, I love to explore and travel.  I would love to travel around the world and see different parts of the world to explore their culture and learn from their perspectives.  I would love to help in any way by building community centers.  I want to major in veterinary sciences, psychology or education.

Bukola RinolaBukola Rinola

School: South Shore International College Prep
Grade: Senior
Organization: Chicago Scholars

I am a senior at South Shore International College Prep.  I grew up on the SouthSide of Chicago.  One of my goals is to be able to make a difference by improving health equity in my community.  I always have been interested in health care and hope to become a doctor in neuroscience.  I hope to gain tangible knowledge on solutions to the inequities that are occurring in my own community as well as other under resourced communities.

Amari Roberts

School: George Westinghouse College Prep
Grade: Senior
Organization: Chicago Scholars

I am a young woman who lives in the East Garfield Park area.  I also am part of the Chicago Housing Authority Youth Council that advocates for Chicago Housing Authority residents.  I believe that this program will allow for me to not only connect those in my community with resources but also those who are also Chicago Housing Authority residents in need of resources just like me.

Olivia Sconyers

School: Lindblom Math & Science Academy
Grade: Senior
Organization: Chicago Scholars

I am a senior at Lindblom Math & Science Academy in the West Englewood neighborhood of Chicago.  My primary interests in health care include obstetrics/gynecology, public health, and epidemiology.  I want to use this opportunity to learn more about public health and form a larger network of health care professionals.

Serenity Tario

School:  Perspecitives IIT
Grade: Senior
Organization: Chicago Scholars

My high school is Perspectives IIT Math and Science Academy.  In the future, I would like to become a neurosurgeon and learn more about health care.  In my free time, besides being a nerd, I love to pay to piano, guitar, and go over my script for drama club.  I love to be versatile in the things I learn.  I would love to learn about public health.

Jacqueline Vanegas

School: Lane Tech High School
Grade: Senior
Organization: Chicago Scholars

I am a current senior at Lane Tech, a school full of opportunities and a diverse community.  It is a community where I have had the chance to meet people from all sorts of backgrounds.  I have discovered the beauty behind so many places.  Living and growing up in Pilsen has made me experience beautiful things alongside things that I wish I could change one day.  Healthcare in under-represented communities is upsetting to see.  Families have to wait extra time to get in touch with a doctor.  Being part of the Youth Advisory Board will allow me to bring new opportunities to my community.

Esmeralda (Esme) Vargas

School: Carver Military Academy
Grade: Senior
Organization: Chicago Scholars

I am a senior at Carver Military Academy.  I want to major in biological sciences to start in my career choice of being a pediatrician (or something else in the medical field).  I also want to minor in clinical psychology in case I want to become a psychiatrist.

 

Summer Interns

The Center for Community Health Equity offers an eight-week, 40-hours a week internship program for four highly motivated undergraduate college students currently in their junior or senior year with strong interests in research, health disparities, and community relations. The summer internship is designed to give relevant and needed exposure to students seeking careers in the health sciences and research. Summer interns will be provided a stipend for the experience ($5000).

Summer 2019

Dominque Dilworth

School: University of Illinois at Chicago
Grade: Senior
Major: Integrated Health Science and minoring in Sociology

I grew up on the West Side of Chicago. Growing up in Humboldt Park, I was exposed to a myriad of disparities affecting communities of color. This inspired and motivated me to create change to improve the quality of life for those in communities like my own. My educational and professional goals include obtaining a master’s degree in Physician Assistant Practice, volunteering at a local free clinic long-term, founding a health-based community center on both the South and West sides of the city, and joining a non-profit organization that works to reduce the consequences of healthcare disparities for people of color.

My interest in research was cultivated when I took Health & Medicine during my junior year at UIC. In this class, we studied both distal and proximal causes of health inequalities while brainstorming potential solutions. In this class, I was able to conduct a case study about maternal and fetal mortality for Black women in Chicago. My research was then presented and discussed during the final weeks of school. In all, this opportunity allowed me to develop my research skills and expand my understanding of intersectionality within U.S Society. I am excited for the opportunity to join the RUSH family and assist with a research project that aligns with my values and interests.

Alexia Leggin

School: Occidental College
Grade: Sophomore
Major: Cognitive science and minoring in Spanish

I graduated from St. Ignatius College Prep, and I am from the Austin area of the West side of Chicago. Early on I realized that, because of my community, I was limited in resources to catapult my academic career and development. Taking note of this , I utilized Rush’s career development programs (ie: SAME Network, REACH) to indulge myself into the more professional world where I was able to see my dedication to academia present itself.
Throughout my years of involvement I’ve come to find that I am heavily interested in learning about the relationship between medicine and the African American community, the dynamic of the hospital on an individual level and how that translates to a collaborative effort, and how my passion for writing can still be an effective tool within a strictly structured STEM field. I have even come to enjoy the subtleties of my medical journey such as learning and applying medical terms in the workplace, developing long-lasting relationships with those that would not normally be in my social realm, and watching the role of every professional at different stages of the medical journey (ie: an attending, medical student, resident, etc). Because of these qualities and experiences, I was certain that I’d be a pre-med student throughout my college career.

I hope to attend medical school to work towards a career concentrated in neuroscience. Throughout my lifetime my older brother battled with schizophrenia, and for many years that has been a battleground for my family. I often hold this experience close to my heart and understand that everything I strive for is in light of his purpose. I hope to take this and use it to fuel my progression towards finding answers with neurology.

Nancy Wu

School: University of Michigan
Grade: May 2019 Graduate
Major: Biopsychology, cognition, and neuroscience

I was able to conduct research on vascular proteins within brain disorders and improve current treatment and disease models for stroke patients. In addition, I had the opportunity to be a part of Michigan Active Citizens: Alternative Spring Break (MAC-ASB) and study public health in Peru as well as South Africa. It was through these experiences that allowed me to gain knowledge on public health systems within and outside of the US and the factors that determine the quality and accessibility of healthcare individuals are receiving. With these experiences, I am eager to apply them to this internship as well as learn more about health disparities among underrepresented groups in Chicago.

In the future, I plan on pursuing a PA/MPH and, ultimately, hope to contribute on reducing health disparities and improving access to quality healthcare among underrepresented individuals within Chicago.

Moriam Yarrow

School: University of Illinois at Chicago
Grade: Senior
Major: Neuroscience

My entire life I have always wanted to be a doctor, but it wasn’t until I entered college that I wanted a bigger role in caring for patients. My research at Cook County Hospital has opened my eyes to the many issues that occur in healthcare. Therefore, I wanted to pursue a career in healthcare administration to have a larger impact on the patient population, and the roles that doctors play. The experience that I have with the underserved community has shown the stark differences in care. The health disparities gap needs closing. My goal is to utilize my career and experiences to aid in the closing of this gap.

Summer 2018

Autumn GantAutumn Gant

School: Beloit College
Grade: Senior
Major: Anthropology

I am a resident of Chicago, which has allowed me to experience first-hand the health systems and disparities in the city that I want to help make more equitable. I am also heavily involved in the activities at Beloit College’s Office of Academic Diversity and Inclusiveness (OADI) and a participant in the McNair Scholars Program, which has allowed me to learn about systemic inequalities in academia. I am excited to bring both of these experiences together to delve deeper into the causes and effects of trauma and health disparities on underrepresented populations. I love being able to contribute to the promotion of equitable health care in my community, and gain more knowledge in the health field from prestigious professionals so that I may take that knowledge to my current institution, family, and friends. This experience will be preparing me for my PhD in psycho-socio anthropology, which I plan to use to make Chicago a more equitable place.

Karla GomezKarla Gomez

School: Grinnell College
Grade: Senior
Majors: Psychology and Russian

I am a senior at Grinnell College majoring in Psychology and Russian. My interest in education equity and mentoring minority youth led me to discover public health and health disparities. This internship combines these two perfectly, and I am excited to learn how we can tackle these issues in our community.

Cierra RobinsonCierra Robinson

School: Northern Illinois University
Grade: Senior
Major: Biological Sciences

My goal in life is to become a physician specializing in anesthesia and later start my own practice. I have been a part of the SAME program at Rush for more than ten years, and have experience working in departments like the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, Case Management, and the Psychiatric Acute Care Unit. Understanding the importance of working collaboratively in group settings, I’m always eager to share my ideas and take on leadership roles. I hope to showcase my talents and skills while gaining useful healthcare experience.

Robert Tavory RobinsonRobert Tavory Robinson

School: Beloit College
Grade: Post Undergraduate
Major: Business Economics
Minor: Studio Art

I bring an entrepreneurial spirit to my work and projects. I have demonstrated leadership potential in my work experience and extracurricular activities. I hope to learn the strategies as a health expert and learn the ways to apply my efforts to prevent health disparities mostly seen in my community. My favorite color is blue, I love Chinese food, and I love supporting my family/friends entrepreneurial endeavors. I hope to own several businesses one day, and rehabilitate my community.