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Department of Public Health Sciences Department of Public Health Sciences

Resiliency Scholarship Empowers Public Health Student

As a second-year Master of Public Health student, Nathalia Torres stands as the second recipient of the Department of Public Health Sciences Resiliency Scholarship, in recognition of her dedication and resilience in the field of public health.

“With the Resiliency Scholarship, we aim to cultivate a culture of innovative thought within the realm of public health research and practice,” said Margie Jimenez, M.A., C.R.A., assistant chair of the Department of Public Health Sciences at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine.

“This scholarship program provides an opportunity to recognize the strength and perseverance of people like Nathalia who have come out stronger despite facing challenges and conquering adversity,” she added. 

Nathalia Torres
"My future is bright," Nathalia Torres.

Launched in January 2021, this scholarship program is dedicated to bolstering the academic journeys of determined M.P.H. and M.S.P.H. students, dedicated to addressing community or global public health challenges. 

Torres’ journey into the world of public health began with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and Criminology, with minors in Public Health, and Health Management and Policy from the University of Miami. "My path to graduate school was marked by uncertainty, but with the support of the department, I was able to navigate the application process for the Resiliency Scholarship and found my way to the Department of Public Health Sciences family," she said.

For Torres, the support network has been instrumental in her academic journey. “The department staff and faculty are every student’s number one cheerleader – every person you meet wants to help you achieve your dreams and goals,” said Torres. 

One of Torres’ highlights of her graduate journey has been the sense of community and mentorship she's experienced. “This department is a hidden gem of the University. It’s not every day you come across remarkable, genuine, passionate, and eager professionals who want to give their students the world and much more. These are the champions of change we need to teach the future leaders of tomorrow.” 

Receiving the scholarship holds a deep personal significance for Torres. As the daughter of immigrant parents, Torres’ achievements are a testament to their hard work and sacrifice. “This scholarship is not just an individual accomplishment; it's a family achievement,” she said. “I lost my mom to cancer 7 years ago. Everything I do, I do it with love, passion, and dedication to my family. I wouldn’t be the person I am today without them.”

“It's also a powerful affirmation that the department recognizes my potential and believes in my abilities,” she added. 

Torres’ academic journey at the department has been filled with opportunities and experiences that have shaped her perspective on public health. From the moment she joined, she was impressed by the diverse opportunities and the personalized approach to education. “The professors ensure that each class caters to students' unique learning styles. I’ve met some amazing people who I know I can turn to for help,” she said. 

Torres worked as a patient screener at Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center. Later, she transitioned to a customer service representative role at the UHealth Tower while balancing a full-time class schedule. Torres now works part-time as a patient experience specialist in the Office of Patient Experience and is starting an internship with the Florida Department of Health.

“I believe in giving my best to both my studies and my job, I understand the importance of being fully present in both spaces. My patients and colleagues deserve my 100% attention and energy.”

Torres is actively involved in the department as a 'Canes ambassador and an Emboldening Students in Healthcare Administration (ESHA) member. She is also a proud member of the Iron Arrow Honor Society. 

“My future at the moment is uncertain but I know it’s bright,” said Torres. She is considering pursuing a Doctorate in Public Health or Health Administration after graduation. 

“Nathalia’s journey at the Department of Public Health Sciences is a testament to the power of resilience, passion, and the support of a dedicated community,” said Jimenez. 

As she prepares for the next chapter in her academic and professional career, Torres’ story inspires all aspiring public health professionals. “The department looks forward to witnessing her continued success and the positive impact she will undoubtedly make in the field of public health,” added Jimenez.

Nathalia acknowledges the invaluable assistance of several key individuals from the Department of Public Health Sciences, including David Lee, Ph.D., professor and chair of the department. Katelyn McGuigan, associate director of professional development. James Shultz, Ph.D., associate professor. Cynthia Rowe, Ph.D., associate professor. Alberto Caban-Martinez, Ph.D., D.O., M.P.H., vice chair for research and associate professor. Tanvi Hathiramani, M.M.C., senior program coordinator for admissions and recruitment. Ginelle Solis, Ed.D., director of admissions. Ashley Gonzalez, M.H.M., senior program coordinator of student engagement. Carlen Duncombe, M.P.A., director of enrollment services.

Written by Deycha Torres Hernández
Published on September 25, 2023