Scholar Stories

Sandra Echeverría

Sandra Echeverría has an unshakable determination to help others. This commitment stems largely from her own experience seeing those she loved struggle daily to have a meal to eat. In their home country of Ecuador, Sandra’s family lived in abject poverty among conditions that led to disease and early death of a newborn younger brother and cousin. Now, Sandra lives out her desire to help others through researching health interventions and fostering relationships as a mentor to students and colleagues alike.

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Mariela Fernandez

Mariela Fernandez is proud of where she came from. Nicknamed “the Valley,” four hours south of San Antonio, TX, Harlingen is many things at once. Harlingen residents navigate two worlds at the same time, constantly switching between English and Spanish. Although sizable, Harlingen has the type of small-town sentiment that produces lifelong residents. Mariela was one of the few who eventually did leave, but she has never strayed far from the path that all started at a Texas Visitor’s Center.

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Linda Charmaraman

Linda Charmaraman grew up with parents who came to the U.S. with a dream of providing a good education for their children and a better life for their family. They left the comfort of familiar soil in Thailand for a life that was less than easy. Growing up in an underprivileged community in South Central Los Angeles, Linda did not think she had an opportunity to make a change. She eventually learned that she could use research to find loopholes in a change-resistant system. Linda uses data to influence policymakers and those who have the power to help youth that do not have a voice.

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