Student Profiles



Mercedes Haro Isidro, MPHc, B.S.

Graduate Assistant, Department of Health Science at CSUF

I serve as a graduate/research assistant responsible for data collection, media development, and meeting coordination. I interface with students and faculty on a regular basis to coordinate and monitor research tasks and progress. I completed my undergraduate degree at California State University, Los Angeles where I acquired a Bachelor’s Degree in Public Health. My experience includes research assistance for USC and nursing aid at Southern Inyo Hospital. My volunteer and internship opportunities were primarily community-oriented, serving adolescents and older adults.


Mercedes Haro Isidro

Karina Garcia, B.S.c

Undergraduate Student, Department of Health Science at CSUF

I am a student recipient of the Comidas y Comunidades Saludables scholarship. The scholarship was established at CSUF by the CCS program via the USDA Hispanic Serving Institution Education Grants Program. I am pursuing my degree in Health Science and anticipate to graduate Spring 2015. My goal is to become a Registered Dietician and to work with under-served Hispanic communities to prevent obesity and improve nutrition with an attempt to promote healthier communities. I was able to attend the annual HACU (Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities) Conference with another undergraduate student Ashley Hernandez and a graduate student Mercedes Haro in Chicago this past October 26-28, 2013 and it was an amazing experience. I met so many other students with the same interests and it was rejuvenating to hear that other Hispanic students are so motivated in pursuing their dreams just as I am. This trip that the USDA has funded me to attend has educated me in the opportunities that big companies including the USDA offers for Hispanic students. I have also learned that networking, making connections, and taking chances is what I need in order to achieve my goals. I am so thankful for the CCS program and the USDA for allowing me to experience this great opportunity and I hope to aspire other students in striving for their dream careers.

Karina Garcia

Ashley Hernandez, B.S.c

Undergraduate Student, Department of Health Science at CSUF

I was ecstatic the first time I heard about the CCS program. I was eager to finally become a part of something with my utmost interest; which was reducing childhood obesity and improving nutrition within the Hispanic communities. When it comes to this topic I am willing to go above and beyond to increase my knowledge. That being said, I was asked to attend the HACU conference in Chicago after submitting a description of myself and a letter of recommendation. Never in a million years did I think I would have the qualifications to attend something so meaningful. The conference emphasized networking, knowing who you truly are, and determination as key aspects to success. Using these abilities, I was able to connect with people from the USDA, Sodexo, EPA and other entities related to my field of study. Overall, CCS sending me on this trip and entailing certain classes has further advanced my communication skills, intelligence and success as a student.

Ashley Hernandez

Students enrolled: 

Currently CCS is comprised of 26 enthused and talented Hispanic students majoring in economics, Chicano/Chicana studies and Health Science.  Integration of the diverse disciplines allows for a multi-faceted discussion and global/group learning of childhood obesity and nutrition concepts. 

Acosta-Memije, Nancy Naranjo, Johana
Beasley, Kristina Orebaugh, Angela
Deitrick, Amanda Ornelas, Claudia
Diab, Rachel Peinder, Sheyla
Garcia, Hannah Ramirez, Israel
Garcia, Karina Ramirez, Janet
Gutierrez, Marco Ramos, Tania
Hernandez, Ashley Rosas, Brianna
Lam, Lily Salmeron, Gissel
Mateo, Marlene Sanchez, Edgar
Mendez, Vanessa Saucedo, Estrella
Mendoza, Stephanie Valle, Nancy
Moreno, Danielle Yap, Elizabeth

Student Profiles



Lizette Martinez, MPHc, B.S.

Graduate Assistant, Department of Health Science at CSUF

I was responsible for assisting with website content and development and meeting coordination. I have a background in architecture and have assisted in the design, coordination and development of residential communities and commercial spaces throughout Southern California. Recent trends in sustainable design sparked my interest on how the built environment affects health, prompting me to pursue a degree in public health. For the past year, I served as a graduate assistant, successfully assisting in focus groups, data collection, coordination, and input in falls prevention among the elderly and have served as a volunteer for a mobile, community-outreach unit providing a variety of health services for underserved populations.


lizette martinez

Lyanna Pillazar, MPHc, B.S.

Project Coordinator
Graduate Assistant, Department of Health Science at CSUF

I served as the study coordinator, assisting with data collection, media development, and the coordination of meetings. I interfaced with students, community partners, and university research teams to coordinate and monitor student activities and accomplishments. Prior to attending graduate school, I facilitated health education curriculum that included nutrition and obesity prevention with Community Health Partnership, a host of the South Bay Area Health Education Center. My volunteer, internship, and working experiences were primarily community-oriented, serving youth, teens, and undergraduate students.


lyanna pillazar

Yansi Perez, B.S.c

Undergraduate Student, Department of Health Science at CSUF

I was a student recipient of the Comidas y Comunidades Saludables scholarship. The scholarship was established by CCS at CSUF via the USDA-Hispanic Serving Institution Education Grants Program. Guided through my passion to help others and make a difference, I am pursuing a degree in Health Science with an anticipated graduation date of spring 2013. I have served in many different volunteer roles within my community such as helping at local hospitals and high schools and coaching youth soccer. In addition, I am involved heavily on campus, previously serving as president for both Peer Health University Network and the Student Health Advisory Committee and a member of the Eta Sigma Gamma honor society. Upon graduation, my goal is to work in underserved Hispanic communities to prevent obesity and improve nutrition, in an attempt to promote healthier communities.

Yansi perez

Adriana Reza, B.S. c

Undergraduate Student, Department of Health Science at CSUF

My experience has been like no other. When I got an email from one of my professors to attend a USDA conference in Texas, I sat there thinking things like "I'm sure there are other people more qualified for this opportunity" and "It's probably too late to reply about it anyway," but I took a chance that for some reason I was nervous about taking. I wrote an email about my interest and within the next month everything was set up for me to attend this conference with Dr. McEligot and Dr. Gonzalez. This conference and overall trip opened my eyes to another world of people and interests related to servicing the population, innovative minds that were just like me. They were people just like me doing what they love. I am definitely thankful for opportunities like these and professors willing to help students succeed.  For me success has started being a part of CCS. Whatever doubt I had in me and my future, this trip not only educated me in what the USDA is doing to improve life, but also reassured me that there is so much out there and I just have to go after these opportunities, make connections, but most of all take chances.

Adriana Reza


Students enrolled: 

Aguila, Selene Montez, Jessica
Alvarado, Karina Perez, Yansi
Antonio-Martinez, Diana Ramirez, Ingrid
Beltran, Jeannette Ramirez, Yvette
Canal, Christina Reza, Adriana
Carlsen, Angelica Rodriguez, Miguel
Garcia, Ana Sotelo, Salvador
Guerrero, Daniela Sherb, Marissa
Juarez, Jose Torres, Christian
Lopez, Rafael Torrez, Rosario
Lovo, Gudelia Vargas, Brenda
Memije, Blanca Villescas, Isamar
Mendoza, Crystal  


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