Student Profiles: Teresa Anchondo Reyes
Major: Interdisciplinary Health Sciences Ph.D. Program and May 2010 UTEP MPH Graduate
Why did you pick UTEP?
I chose the Interdisciplinary Ph.D. program because I wanted the opportunity to work with professionals in different disciplines that have an overall interest in improving health and health disparities, especially in Hispanic populations along the U.S.-Mexico Border.
What sparked your interest in the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences PhD Program?
Having been born and raised in El Paso, I was exposed to the numerous challenges that are faced among many residents living along the U.S.-Mexico Border. The hope of reducing or eliminating health disparities led to the pursuit of a master’s degree in Public Health with a special focus on Hispanic and border health issues. My strong interest in conducting research in vulnerable populations has guided me to pursue a doctoral degree in my home town and focus on issues facing my own community. The interdisciplinary program has allowed me to utilize my expertise in Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and incorporates research across numerous disciplines.
Tell us about a service-learning or research experience you’ve had at UTEP
I have had the opportunity to conduct research investigating the relationships between the school characteristics, specifically the retail food environment and obesity and physical activity among children from a predominately Hispanic community. I am currently analyzing data of children in grades three through eight, that attended the El Paso Independent School District from 2009-2013. I am excited to be conducting novel research within my own community that will broaden the understanding of the retail food environment and childhood health and will contribute to the development of effective, interventions for Hispanic children along the U.S.-Mexico Border.
What are your career aspirations?
My professional goals are to increase the knowledge of public health in underserved areas, and conduct research that contributes to interventions that decrease obesity and increase physical activity in children. I plan to use my Ph.D. degree after I graduate to enter the world of academia. I want to teach higher education while still being able to conduct research. After graduation, I hope to enter post-doctoral training so that I may become highly proficient in statistical analysis and better prepared to expand and apply my research and knowledge to obesity-related health issues.
What advice would you give to a student thinking about applying to the Interdisciplinary Health Sciences PhD Program?
My advice would be that you find a research topic that interests you, because you will be spending a lot of time on it. I also recommend that you take the time to meet with several professors prior to selecting a dissertation chair. It is important to make sure that you are the right fit for one another. Finally, remember that you can do it! Perseverance is key!