Tiana Reyes ’19 has a very personal reason for doing undergraduate research in cancer biology and racial health disparities: her mother died from breast cancer when she was 11.
“That fueled my interest within science to understand how cancer can come to be, and how I can make a difference in the lives of people that are suffering,” Reyes said.
Reyes started doing research at Stony Brook in the summer of 2017 under the mentorship of Dr. Jennie Williams, an associate professor in the Deaprtment of Family, Population and Preventive Medicine of the Renaissance School of Medicine. At the time she was a Nassau Community College participant in BioPREP, an NIH-funded program administered by i-STEM that encourages underrepresented community college students to further their education and pursue careers in biomedical sciences.
Reyes transferred to Stony Brook in January 2018 to pursue a Bachelor of Science in Biology. In summer of 2018, Tiana joined INDUCER/Increasing Diversity in Undergraduate Cancer Biology Education and Research, an NIH-National Cancer Institute program that helped to support her ongoing research in the Williams research group, where she began collaborative work with Dr. Berhane Ghebrehiwet.
“We’re here to do work and make actual differences,” Reyes said. “I know my work is going somewhere and that it means something even if I don’t get the results I want. No result is still a result!“
At Stony Brook, Tiana, a Brooklyn native, has been active as a CSTEP mentor and as a volunteer for Alternative Spring Break outreach.