William Paterson University’s Tyler Sanchez, of Montague, New Jersey, is 1 of 30 college students nationwide selected for the American Heart Association’s Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSI) Scholars Program, which supports promising undergraduate students who are committed to diminishing health inequities in Latino communities.
William Paterson University has been federally designated as an HSI—an institution where at least 25 percent of the student body is Hispanic—since 2016. Today, approximately 35 percent of the institution’s students are Hispanic.
Sanchez, a junior biology major pursuing a pre-medical professions concentration at WP, maintains a 4.0 grade point average and is a member of the University’s Honors College.
Through the HSI Scholars Program, now in its second year, students are paired up with a mentor in their field that provides them with research experience, and attend healthcare conferences, leadership skills workshops, and cultural competence training. Each student also receives a $7,000 stipend and all-expense paid trip to attend the American Heart Association’s annual Scientific Sessions—several days of programming on the latest science research, multidisciplinary health care initiatives, and health equity
Sanchez, who plans to continue his schooling after WP in pursuit of a career as a physician assistant in emergency medicine, has been paired up to perform research with an emergency medicine doctor who also studies hypertensive medicine. Their pairing “is a dream come true,” Sanchez says.
“Through the years, physician assistant programs have gotten a lot more competitive, almost as competitive as medical school, so any way to stand out will benefit me,” he adds. “… a competitive advantage opens more doors for people like me,” continues Sanchez, who grew up in Hamburg, NJ and has family ties to Colombia. His mother, Cheryl Sanchez, graduated from William Paterson in 1994, as did two of his aunts.
Biology professor Michael Peek suggested that Tyler Sanchez apply for the HSI Scholars program, and he did, though he notes that he truly didn’t expect anything to come of the application. “Then I got an email that I was in the Top 30,” he says, expressing his gratitude for what could be a life-changing experience ahead of him.
Funding for the HSI Scholars Program is provided by Quest Diagnostics and its Quest for Health Equity Program.
William Paterson University
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Wayne, New Jersey 07470