Editor’s Note: This is the story of a graduate of the 2012 Èxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training program. Apply by April 1, 2013, for the 2013 Èxito! program.

Ramon Torres

Ramon Torres
Kansas City, Kan.

Ramon Conception Torres, who experienced disparities and discrimination in his home town in Puerto Rico and the U.S., can sympathize with minorities’ struggles.

Growing up in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico, as a vivacious child without much adult supervision, Torres often found himself in mischief. Finding grace in the eyes of a security guard, his new mentor helped him restructure his life and focusing on what was important—his life and success.

Torres took his mentor’s help to heart, especially remembering his advice: “No one is going to do something for you, unless you do something for yourself.”

His determination to make something of himself propelled him to earn a bachelor’s in geography from the University of Puerto Rico and a master’s degree in geography from Binghamton University in New York.

Torres is currently a research assistant at the University of Kansas Medical Center’s Juntos Center for Advancing Latino Health programs. As part of this appointment, Torres has worked to develop strong relationships between the Mexican Consulate in Kansas City and the Ventanilla de Salud Movil Program.

To help him continue preparing to apply to a doctoral degree program, Torres applied for Éxito! Latino Cancer Research Leadership Training, which aims to increase research in Latino cancer disparities by encouraging master’s-level students and health professionals to pursue a doctoral degree and a cancer research career.

He said the 2012 Éxito! Summer Institute was both motivational and informational.

“I never expected [Éxito!] would provide me with such great multidisciplinary research insight and motivation for me to continue my path toward the PhD,” Torres said. “They brought confidence in me and reasons to believe in academia once again. [Éxito!] has the spark for me to get back up.”

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