SPOTLIGHT Rising Star: Marisol Cora-Cruz, Can-Do-All Attitude

Mary is a rising senior majoring in neuroscience and a minor in public health with big aspirations to fix health disparities in the Latino community. Her Earlham education and involvement outside of the classroom have set her up on a path to success. She has been heavily involved with the Center for Global Health, where she worked as a Peer Mentor, got involved in Health Club and the Minority Association of Pre-Medical Students (MAPS), and helped get the Medical Interpreting Program established. However, her most formative on-campus experience came from being the Health Externship Coordinating Intern. In that role, she got to support students in finding externship placements that matched their interests, listened to their feedback and concerns, and made improvements to the program. Serving others and giving back to her peers has always been important to Mary: “Earlham has given me the perspective that I do things for the greater good. I always try to look for the core reason and how we can do the best not just for me, but everyone around me.”

For the Spring 2022 semester, Mary studied off-campus in Philadelphia through the Intern Philly program. During that time she interned at Drexel University’s Dornsife School of Public Health as an Undergraduate Research Assistant, a position she was able to continue full-time throughout the summer thanks to EPIC Advantage funding.

This opportunity allowed her to engage more deeply with her area of interest as she helped recruit and interview study participants from the local Latino community. Her research focused on how substance abuse, violence, HIV/AIDS, and mental health affected this population. She also looked into peer-based interventions to address and mitigate alcohol abuse.

Her advice for other students: Be persistent and don’t give up. “Sometimes you have to be willing to do what other students might not be willing to do. For example, if someone gives you their contact information, you follow up with them. Don’t just ignore them or think it’s just another contact, but actually follow through with it. Because that’s what mentors notice, they notice follow through and they notice commitment, and that will open up more opportunities for you.”

After graduation, Mary plans on pursuing a post-bac opportunity with the National Institute of Health and seeking out more scholarship opportunities to ultimately go into an MD-PhD program. 


By Jessie Pilewski
Jessie Pilewski Associate Director of the Center for Global Health