PSU BUILD EXITO Senior Scholars Share Their Program Journey

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Portland State University’s BUILD EXITO program staff are happy to announce that the Cohort 4 Senior Scholars have finished the EXITO program, an achievement that is especially meaningful given the challenges of the past year. For this year’s graduation, EXITO is celebrating the triumphs of the 66 Scholars who have successfully wrapped up their research experiences and completed the program in spring 2021. The program hosted a virtual end of year celebration in late May, which included sharing reflections from the new alumni, noting students accomplishments, and gathering shoutouts from graduating Scholars and the EXITO Community. Attendees for this event included Scholars, staff/faculty, guests of Senior Scholars, and many other EXITO Community members. 

Messages from BUILD EXITO Cohort 4 Scholars

Three graduating Cohort 4 Scholars shared about their journey during the program. These students represent just a few of the many unique experiences of BUILD EXITO students.

“We have learned how to be resilient because we have learned how to give ourselves space for self-care, to reach out for help and resources as we needed them.” — Sarah Autry

“I want to invite all of you to take this gift, your story, your compassion, and your inspiration and share it to others.” — Franklyn Santos

“The BUILD EXITO program [has been a] meaningful life experience, and it has positively impacted and contributed to my academic and professional development in countless ways. Thank you to the BUILD EXITO faculty, staff, mentors, and peers who inspired me to push beyond what I ever thought possible for myself. Before being introduced to this program, research was this awesome thing that other people did - now it's the awesome thing that I do, that we do.” — Stephanie Paris

Next Steps for BUILD EXITO Cohort 4 Scholars

Many Senior Scholars are looking forward to enjoying this upcoming summer and relaxing after years of hard work. Most are completing their bachelor’s degrees in June. Several are starting master’s or Ph.D. programs in the Fall or plan to apply to master’s programs and medical school during the upcoming application season. 

Additionally, many recent program alumni have been accepted into EXITO PLUS (Pathways Leading to Uninterrupted Success), a program funded by the Genentech Foundation. Given the current challenges and disruptions of the COVID-19 era, the goal of PLUS is to provide continuity in the academic progress and research training of BIPOC scholars in the BUILD EXITO program. PLUS will focus on improving retention and persistence by providing special bridge programming that extends the training and financial support of BUILD EXITO for an additional year to address the needs of scholars who have completed the program but have not yet entered graduate school or the workforce. 

Shoutouts to BUILD EXITO Cohort 4 Scholars

The BUILD EXITO Team is inspired by students’ perseverance despite the many challenges and setbacks that they faced this past year. They completed the program and are onto new adventures. Staff and faculty reflected on the unique perspectives of this cohort and their accomplishments.

“Congrats to Cohort 4 scholars for a job well done! To my mentees, it's been a true pleasure being in community with you. Looking forward to your next big chapter.” — Alma M.O. Trinidad, PhD, MSW, associate professor in the School of Social Work at Portland State University and a career mentor in the program. 

“To have stuck with EXITO until the end and graduate amidst a global pandemic is no small achievement. Take a moment and appreciate what you have all accomplished. I am thankful to have been able to be a part of your journey and to get to know the wonderful people in this program. Congratulations Cohort 4!” — Medina Lamkin, former EXITO Scholar, now program staff member.

“Cohort 4 Scholars: you have moved with grace and with fire through crazy changes and tough times. When you think something you want looks intimidating, or somebody looks far above you, remember you have already worked harder and done more than most people.” — Aaron Raz Link, EXITO’s enrichment core lead.

The BUILD EXITO team is thrilled to see what great things are ahead for these students

The Diversity Program Consortium Coordination and Evaluation Center at UCLA is supported by Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health / National Institutes of General Medical Sciences under award number U54GM119024.
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