Ivana Culic, senior in the Exercise Science program, was recently named one of New Jersey’s American Heart Association’s Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) Scholars.
The HSI Scholars Program supports students who are committed to diminishing health inequities in Latino communities. The program invests in aspiring Hispanic researchers and health care professionals, specifically undergraduate students enrolled in biomedical and health sciences at HSIs, by offering academic and career-enriching experiences for a full academic year. With the support of the American Heart Association as well as committed and impactful mentors, HSI Scholars learn about health disparities in Hispanic communities, how cultural sensitivity can provide safe and reassuring clinical spaces, and how inclusivity is essential in science. Students accepted into the program also have the opportunity to engage in a virtual leadership and professional development series to enhance critical skills to position them for success beyond graduation.
HSIs serve Hispanic students by promoting a racially diverse student body, fostering a positive environment on campus, and providing services focused on helping Hispanic students. These institutions also contribute significantly to preparing a diverse workforce. Montclair State University has proudly been recognized as a Hispanic Serving Institution since 2016.
Dr. Luis Torres, Assistant Professor in the Department of Exercise Science and Physical Education, is serving as Ivana’s mentor through the year-long program. The American Heart Association credits their mentors with being the backbone of the HSI Scholars Program. The early exposure to research labs and partnerships with professional mentors will help shape the next generation of Latino biomedical science and health care professionals.