Meet the Interns of Summer 2013!

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Meet the Interns of Summer 2013!

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This summer at Juntos we had a large group of talented interns, each one with a unique personality and set of skills. We have had the pleasure of getting to know them over the past two-months. Now it’s your turn to meet them!

Summer Science Academy Interns (SSA):

Melanie Leyva is a senior from Sumner Academy of Arts & Science. She is a candidate in the International Baccalaureate program, which requires her to take rigorous college level courses and perform community service. During her years at Sumner Academy, she has participated in Model United Nations, Forensics, and Art Club. Outside of school, she is part of Saturday Science and Math Academy and the Alexandra Girls Grant Project. This summer, Melanie participated in Sumner Science Academy 2013 at the Kansas University (KU) Lawrence campus. After high school, she plans to take pre-med courses at KU.

Nadia Rodriguez came from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico at the age of 4. She is a sophomore at Wyandotte High School. Although Nadia was unsure of what she wanted to study after High School, her health careers caught her attention. Although still unsure of what she will become, she is interested in pediatrics and nursing, specifically in becoming a Registered Nurse or a Travel Nurse. She knows that whatever she decides she can count on her family’s support. While still looking at other colleges, Nadia has an open mind about KU. Regardless of where she goes, she will count with financial support as a Kauffman Scholar and a member of KU Talent Search. She has been part of  Saturday Academy and SSA, and she hopes to continue her participation in similar programs. Outside of academics, Nadia loves to play volleyball and soccer for Wyandotte. Among some of her other hobbies one can find baseball and reading.

Luis Rodriguez is a senior at Sumner Academy of Arts & Science. Although attending a college-preparatory school is not the easiest thing in the world, he has managed to survive 4 years of it. He still undecided on his academic future, but is strongly leaning towards the fields of science and technology. Regardless of what he decides to study, Luis plans to continue his schooling at either the University of Missouri in Kansas City (UMKC) or KU.  Luis has participated in various programs directed by Ms. Pomeroy; including Saturday Academy, Wednesday Media, and SSA. These programs have given him a mentoring position and the opportunity to develop his leadership and communication skills.

GCRC Interns:

Malissa Bray graduated from J.C Harmon High School and will be attending Kansas City Community College  (KCKCC) in the fall. She plans to later transfer to UMKC to major in Forensic Science and minor in Biology. She hopes to become a Medical Examiner when she completes her schooling. This summer with Juntos, her research project focused on the Knowledge and Opinions on Cancer Clinical Trials among Latinos in Wyandotte County. During her time with us she found out how money can affect ones health and how being a minority can decrease your opportunities regarding health care. She also learned from current medical students about their experience while applying to school. During her spare time, Malissa loves to go camping with her family and play softball.

Benjamin Cossio Rios was born in Camargo, Chihuahua and moved to Doniphan, Nebraska at the age of four.  It was not until the age of ten that he moved to Kansas City with his family. Once in Kansas City, he attended West Middle School where he first learned about Kauffman Scholars Inc., a program that would change his life by offering him a full-ride scholarship.  After finishing middle school he attended high school at Sumner Academy of Arts & Science but transferred to Wyandotte High School to pursue a technical job after school. During high school he was a full-time student taking courses at the KCKCC Tech Program where he received an Automotive Service Excellence certification. Benjamin graduated Wyandotte High School in the top 10% of his class with a 3.3 G.P.A and earned a full-ride scholarship to Kansas State University. He has participated in numerous programs, including the Harvest of Hope Leadership Academy and GCRC with Juntos. While working with us, he compared the accessibility and quality of Wyandotte County and Johnson County parks. His philosophy on life is, ‘opportunities are abundant but it takes decisions to define them’. His ultimate goal in life is to do something great in hopes of being remembered forever by people. He dreams of creating something incredible for humanity but first plans to master in engineering.

Gabriela Garcia graduated at the top of her class at J.C. Harmon High School. Throughout high school, she was very focused on academics and joined the National Honor Society, taking advanced placement dual-credited courses, participating in the SEPA Wednesday Media project and mentoring at the Saturday Academy. Apart from academics, she was also involved in her high school’s Multicultural Club, volleyball team, and volunteered with KCK’s Organic Teaching Gardens. She will begin her college education at Avila University in Kansas City, Missouri, where she will major in Biology and is considering to focus on Secondary Education or Nursing. As a Juntos intern, Gabriela focused on Breast Cancer Awareness among Latinas living in Wyandotte County.  Gabriela believes any opportunity should be taken advantage of and plans to give back to her community in the near future.

Natalie Villanueva grew up in the Argentine Community of Wyandotte County. She attended Holy Name Catholic School from preschool to 7th grade and graduated high school from Sumner Academy. She will be attending KCKCC after receiving the Presidential Scholarship, which allows her to earn her Associate’s Degree tuition free. She plans to later continue school at University of Kansas Nursing School to become a registered nurse.  In the past few years Natalie has participated in a variety of the SEPA programs such as SSA, Saturday Academy, Wednesday Media, and GCRC with Juntos. This summer, she encountered learning obstacles, educational lectures, and inspirational mentors that have taken her one step closer to becoming a successful nurse. During the program she focused on Type II Diabetes and the health risks associated with the disease. Health is just one of her many interests . Outside of school and work, she finds joy in art, traveling, shopping, and spending time with her family.

Jehieli Arteta was born in Mexico and later moved to Kansas. She grew up to become fluent in Spanish and English.  This upcoming school year, Jehieli will be a junior at Shawnee Mission North. She plans to continue her education to become a registered nurse or a doctor.  Meanwhile she plans to participate in programs related to public health like the Ventanilla de Salud Movil Program and Promotores de Salud. This summer with Juntos, Jehieli focused on the “Use of Alternative Folk Medicine as a Culturally Appropriate Health Care Option for Latinos” and helped at a health fair in Liberal, KS.  Her summer experience exposed her to health disparities within the Latino community, allowed her to receive advice from current medical students and taught her how to conduct and present her own experiment.  Outside of Juntos, Jehieli takes priority in her studies and participates in Latinos of Tomorrow and volunteers at Shawnee Mission Hospital.


Undergraduate Students:

Andros Garcia Saldivar came from Monterrey, Mexico at the age of nine, graduated from Sumner Academy  in Kansas City, KS as a Kauffman Scholarship recipient, and is currently attending Boston University where he is majoring in Health Science and minoring in Business. While he is unsure of where life will take him, he dreams of becoming a family physician. Andros has seasonally worked with Juntos since 2010 on smoking cessation, community health, and diabetes. This year Andros has had the opportunity to present talks about Health & Nutrition to Girl Scout troops in the community, receive training to measure blood glucose and blood pressure in preparation for some of the various health fairs, and develop PSAs targeting pre-diabetes patients.  When he is not at KUMC, he likes to watch movies, play the saxophone and guitar, and work on what he calls uber-secret art projects.

Cristal Hernandez is a first generation college graduate. Having earned a BA in Psychology and Chemistry at the UMKC she will be starting graduate school this fall semester at UMKC as a master’s student in counseling and guidance with an emphasis in mental health. She plans to obtain a degree in clinical child psychology and pursue a career in research helping adolescences with eating disorders. In the past Cristal worked as an Alta Vista Middle/High School tutor as well as a Jumpstart Corps Member where she has worked with various students throughout the Kansas City community to help improve literacy skills and academic abilities, as well as improve community involvement. Cristal also volunteers as a research assistant with the Cognitive, Behavioral, and Physiological Correlates of Anxiety study at UMKC. This summer she worked on a diabetes study aimed to help raise diabetes risk awareness in the Latino community.  Cristal also attended several health fairs where she learned to fill out intake forms, determine BMI, and check glucose and blood pressure levels. Outside of school, Cristal enjoys running, dancing tango, and baking. In addition, Cristal enjoys playing zombie board games and spoiling her dog, Benji.

Abril Negrete was born in Mexico City and moved to Kansas at the age of six. While in school she enjoyed science and theatre as well as helping for both of Obama’s presidential campaigns. She later earned her GED and moved to Los Angeles to explore new horizons. She recently moved back to KS and enrolled at Johnson County Community College to challenge herself academically. She hopes to pursue a career in the medical field. This summer has been the second time that Abril has worked with Juntos. While working with us, Abril analyzed data for the Ventanilla de Salud Mòvil health fairs in rural Kansas, focusing on glucose, blood pressure and BMI. Abril hopes to maintain her involvement with Juntos while in school.  When she’s not crunching numbers for Juntos, Abril likes to ride her bicycle through Kansas City, MO and play with her Boston Terrier named Happy.

Ivon Nieto was born in Michoacán, Mexico and moved to Kansas when she was nine years old. She graduated with honors from KCKCC and received her Associate’s in General Studies. To further pursue her career goals, Ivon will attend Donnelly College to get her bachelor’s in Organizational Leadership. She is fluent in Spanish and English and hopes to learn sign language. While working with Juntos, Ivon helped provide access to preventive health screening, address diabetes disparities among Latinos, and distribute knowledge to Latinos in Kansas. Ivon learned that there are many barriers for Latinos to obtain quality health. Lack of knowledge and low economic status are two of the largest causes for the many health disparities Latinos face. On her free time, Ivon likes to play soccer and spend time with her family and friends.

Ana Romero is originally from El Salvador. She is currently finishing her associate’s degree at KCKCC. She plans to transfer to the UMKC in the spring of 2014 to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry. Ana hopes to attend medical school and pursue a career as a family primary care physician with the dream of opening her own clinic. This summer Ana worked with Juntos on a research project regarding the importance of breast cancer screening awareness among Latinas. She also volunteered with the diabetes study aimed to help raise diabetes awareness among Latinos.  During this experience she gained skills in research, and an appreciation for the power of knowledge regarding health issues among her community. Aside from school she likes to volunteer. Ana is student manager of “My Shelf to Yours”, a student operated bookstore whose profit goes towards textbook and tuition scholarships for students that show financial need. On her spare time Ana enjoys escaping reality with a good fiction novel.

Diosselyn Tot-Velasquez moved to Kansas from Guatemala at the age of six. She graduated from Sumner Academy in May 2012. Within her years in Sumner Academy Diosselyn was involved in several organizations such as National Honors Society, the Hispanic National Honors Society, Asian Club, and obtained her Full IB Bilingual Diploma along with her high school diploma. Outside of school she was involved with many other organizations (Kauffman Scholars, El Centro, Community Housing of Wyandotte County, etc.). She plant to attend medical school and pursue a career as a doctor. She started at The University of Kansas in the fall of 2012 and is starting her sophomore year in the fall of 2013. She is planning to major in Community Health with a minor in Latin-American Studies. In the past she has participated in the internship program for two-years and was a volunteer during her breaks. This summer with Juntos, Diosselyn worked as the assistant coordinator of the internship program. When she is not working with us, Diosselyn  volunteers as an interpreter at Jaydoc Clinic. As well, she loves to play volleyball and swim. In her spare time she is involved with painting murals on alleys, which is a government funded project named Creative Alley Renovation (C.A.R).

Overall, the interns were fantastic! and their mini-biographies just go to show how talented and outgoing they are.

By Andros Garcia 

Film-Director Summer Consultant  

& Diosselyn Tot

Summer Internship Assistant Coordinator

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