C-STEPS Program

The Cancer Research – Scholarship and Training in Population Sciences (C-STEPS) program provides a cancer-focused research experience, career mentorship, interactive seminars, and team building that culminate in a Capstone project at the end of 10 weeks.

C-STEPS Graphic

Rich Research Experience

Students gain a hands-on, skills-based, mentored research experience that is focused on cancer control and population science.

Defined by the National Cancer Institute, Cancer Control and Population Science is a study of a group of individuals taken from the general population who share a common characteristic, such as age, sex, or health condition.

This group may be studied for different reasons, such as their response to a drug or risk of getting a disease. In addition, students participate in career planning and team-based activities. Students who participate in C-STEPS will also have the opportunity to submit an abstract of their Capstone poster project at the annual American Association for Cancer Education (AACE) conference to further enhance their presentation skills. The C-STEPS program will cover travel to the annual conference if the abstract is accepted. C-STEPS will provide ongoing support to students to present their research at their home university by assisting in poster printing.

The C-STEPS program will invite two students from the prior cohort to serve as peer mentors to a new student cohort to gain experience as an educator.

Program Focus

The C-STEPS program is part of the Undergraduate Pipeline Network (UPN).

The goal of the C-STEPS program is to facilitate and support undergraduate students in their completion of a degree in the STEM-H (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and health sciences) field. This program also facilitates the student’s selection of and application to graduate or professional schools while encouraging their interests in research careers. The long-term goal of C-STEPS is to increase the biomedical and behavioral research workforce by providing specialized and experiential curricula that highlights team-oriented population sciences.

To provide a mentored research experience, students are paired with a faculty member who is focused on cancer control and population science at The University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center. The program also offers peer and near-peer mentors to serve as role models, offer research seminars, facilitate team building, and provide research and career planning mentoring.

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Rayna Vue

University of New Mexico, Biochemistry Major

Mentor: Debra MacKenzie, PhD, Research Assistant Professor, College of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Poster Title: Longitudinal Study of Carcinogenic Metals in Navajo Children from the Navajo Birth Cohort Study (NBCS)

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Jolie Walker

Vassar College, Biochemistry Major

Mentor: Catie Willging, PhD, Center Director (PIRE-Southwest) and Senior Research Scientist II

and
Miria Kano, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Preventive Medicine

Poster Title:

Creating Equity for Sexual and Gender Minority Cancer Patients: The Importance of Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Data Collection

Image-posterRachel Templeton

University of Pittsburgh, Environmental Engineering Major

Mentor: Matt Campen, PhD, MSPH, Director, New Mexico Center for Metals in Biology and Medicine; Regents’ Professor, College of Pharmacy

Poster Title: 
Identification of Laboratory Animal Microplastic Consumption

Image-posterAbigail Ikechi-Konkwo

University of New Mexico, Biochemistry Major

Mentor: Cindy Blair, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Preventive Medicine

Poster Title: 

Longitudinal Associations between Physical Activity and Quality of Life among Older Cancer Survivors During th COVID-19 Pandemic

Image-posterSamuel Barans

Michigan State University, Psychology and Mathematics Major

Mentor: Annette Crisanti, PhD, Vice Chair of Research and Tenured Professor Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences

Poster Title: Trauma in Hispanics at Clinical High Risk for Psychosis

 

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Prabhuti Vansadia

University of Florida, Dietetics Major

Mentor: Dolores Guest, PhD, Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Preventive Medicine

Poster Title: 

Evaluating Nutrition Services in Outpatient Cancer Centers in New Mexico

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Dana Baca

Duke University, Biology and Global Health Major

Mentor: Kate Cartwright, PhD, MPH, Associate Professor, School of Public Administration

Poster Title: 

Improving Colorectal Cancer Screening Accessibility, Compliance, and Equity for American Indian and Alsaka Native Adults: First Results from a Cancer Screening Scoping Review

Image-posterMegan McCarthy

University of New Mexico, Biology Major

Mentor: Kim Page, PhD, MPH, MS, Professor, Department of Internal Medicine

Poster Title:

Investigating the Impact of Methamphetamine Use on New Mexican Communities During the Opioid Epidemic; Identifying opportunities for Intervention

Edgar Carrete

University of New Mexico, Biology Major

Mentor: Prajakta Adsul, MBBS, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Preventive Medicine

Poster Title:

Cancer Prevention and Control Among LGBTQIA+ Populations in New Mexico

Image-posterSreeya Kairamkonda

Colorado State University, Biomedical Sciences Major

Mentor: Prajakta Adsul, MBBS, PhD, MPH, Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Preventive Medicine

Poster Title:

HPV Vaccination Rates in New Mexico and Future Directions for Promoting the HPV Vaccine Among Young Adults

 

Jordan Charlie

University Of New Mexico, Biology Major

Jordan Presentation Image

Mentor: Debra Mackenzie, PhD Research Assistant Professor, College of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences

UPN C-STEPS Poster Title: Association of Cytokine Levels from Extant Serum Samples with COVID-19


Kailyn Goodwin

University of San Francisco, Biology Major

Mentor: Jean McDougall, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Preventive Medicine

UPN Poster Title: Promoting Cervical Cancer Screening Using Message Framing to Eliminate Racial Disparities


Jessica Hoffman

Austin College, Biology Major

Hoffman Presentation Image

Mentor: Prajakta Adsul, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Preventive Medicine

UPN C-STEPS Poster Title: Why do Sexual and Gender Diverse Individuals Forego Cervical Cancer Screenings?


Sophia Jaramillo

New Mexico State University, Kinesiology Major

Jaramillo Presentation ImageMentor: Cynthia Blair, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and
Preventive Medicine

UPN C-STEPS Poster Title: Using Sociodemographic-Health Factors to Evaluate the Success of a Physical Activity Intervention in Older Cancer Survivors


Sophia Mourad

University of California, Los Angeles, Biology Major

Mourad Presentation ImageMentor: Miria Kano, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Preventive Medicine

UPN C-STEPS Poster Title: Differing Experiences of Cancer Care in LGBT Individuals vs. Heterosexual, Cisgendered Individuals


Samantha Ogata

New Mexico Highlands University, Biology/Mathematics Major

Mentor: Andrew Sussman, PhD
Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine

UPN C-STEPS Poster Title: Supporting Women in Survivorship Healthcare: Patient Perspectives Regarding Obstacles to Improving Cancer Survivorship Care


Karenna Sandoval

Arizona State University, Medical Studies Major

Sandoval Presentation ImageMentor: Marianne Berwick, PhD
Distinguished Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Preventive Medicine

UPN C-STEPS Poster Title: The Most Effective Method to Achieve Healthy Vitamin D Levels - A Review


Destinee Sandy

New Mexico Highlands University, Biology Major

Mentor: Laurie Hudson, PhD
Regents’ Professor, College of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences

UPN Poster Title: Understanding the Cytotoxic Effects of Vanadium and Cadmium on Renal Proximal Tubule Cells

Soto Presentation Image

Cristian Soto

Utah State University, Biology Major

Presented at the 2022 International Cancer Education Conference

 

Mentor: Dolores Guest, PhD
Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Preventive Medicine

UPN C-STEPS Poster Title: Assessment of Nutrition Services Available in New Mexico Outpatient Cancer Facilities


Alexander Vanderwiel

Macalester College, Biology Major

Vanderwiel PresentationMentor: Bernard Tawfik, MD
Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Hematology/Oncology

UPN C-STEPS Poster Title: Evaluating Cancer Awareness Months and Cancer Screening Tests Through Internet Search Big Data 

C-STEPS Details

Students must apply to the UPN program in the fall to be considered for the following summer. Each summer, C-STEPS will have a cohort of 10 undergraduate students and two peer mentors from the prior cohort.

Interested students may apply for C-STEPS through the

UPN application

that opens every fall.

The 10-week program runs from late-May to early August on The University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center campus.

C-STEPS covers

  • transportation to and from the University of New Mexico
  • housing while on UNM campus
  • stipend for the 10-weeks

C-STEPS has similar eligibility to UPN that include:

  • Minimum of 3.0 GPA
  • Be an enrolled undergraduate at the time of the program and a graduation date no earlier than the December following the program
  • Currently attend a college or university in the United States
  • Be a US Citizen or Permanent Resident (green card holder)

Additionally, highly qualified students should apply to C-STEPS if there is interest in translational research, including the following areas:

  • Cancer risk and risk prediction
  • Risk reduction
  • Screening determinants and interventions
  • Cancer care delivery and survivorship

For questions specific to C-STEPS, please email C-STEPS@salud.unm.edu or contact Dr. Shiraz Mishra: smishra@salud.unm.edu, (505) 925-6085

For questions related to the UPN application, please contact School of Medicine Research Education Office: SOMREO@salud.unm.edu, (505) 272-1887

The C-STEPS program offered an amazing experience that allowed me to collaborate with many peers that other programs wouldn’t allow. This included the journal clubs, assignments involving teamwork, and the work that we did with our mentors and our research team.

Edgar Carrete , C-STEPS participant

Team & Advisory Committee

Mishra ImageShiraz I. Mishra, MBBS, PhD

Professor, Departments of Pediatrics and Family and Community Medicine
Cancer Control Population Science Research Program Co-Leader
 

Kano ImageMiria Kano, PhD

Assistant Professor, Regional Coordinating Director (GMaP Region 3), Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Preventive Medicine

Rodman ImageJoseph Rodman, MA

Scientific Research Manager
Image - ShecheBehavioral Measurement and Population Science Shared Resource (BMPS)

Judith Sheche, MS

Senior Research Scientist (Dr. Mishra)
  

The Executive Advisory Committees responsibilities include:

  • Meeting 3 times per year
  • Reviewing: recruitment, selection process, annual cohort selection, evaluation of seminars and mentor-mentees, and the long-term sustainability and program enhancement plans
  • Regular email updates; provide advice, comments, and recommendations as needed
Jani Ingram, PhD

I am a Regents’ Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry at Northern Arizona University, the PI of the Partnership of Native American Cancer Prevention, and the Director of Bridging Native American Students to Bachelor’s Degree Program. My expertise is developing training programs for undergraduate students and hands-on mentorship programs. I am also a member of the Navajo Nation.

Image - HarrisRobin Harris, PhD, MPH

I am a Professor of Epidemiology at the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health at the University of Arizona, Co-Director of the Skin Cancer Institute at the Arizona Cancer Center, and PI of a National Cancer Institute funded T32, “Cancer Prevention and Control Health Disparities Training Program”. My expertise is in population science research focused on community-based research that addresses chronic disease prevention and control.

Image - ChangShine Chang, PhD

I am the Director of the Cancer Prevention Research Training Program (www.CancerPreventionTraining.org) at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, University of Texas System Distinguished Teaching Professor, and Ashbel Smith Full Professor (tenured) in the Department of Epidemiology.  At my institution, I also serve as co-program leader for our NCI P30 Cancer Center Support Grant’s Cancer Research Training and Education Coordination resource. With a unifying theme to reduce disparities and increase access and opportunity in health and the biomedical workforce, my expertise is cancer epidemiology and cancer prevention and in training and education for leadership in the field of cancer prevention and control from college through faculty ranks.

Meet the C-STEPS Mentors

Research Assistant Professor, College of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Research Area: Pharmaceutical sciences

Learn more about Dr. Mackenzie

Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Preventive Medicine 

Research Area: Individual-, provider-, and organizational-level determinants influence the implementation (uptake and delivery) of cancer screening services in underserved communities.

Learn more about Dr. Adsul

Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Preventive Medicine

Research Area: Cancer survivorship and cancer care delivery for gender and sexual minorities

Learn more about Dr. Kano

Associate Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Preventive Medicine  

Research Area: cancer survivorship; lifestyle behavior interventions to improve health and well-being among cancer survivors. 

Learn more about Dr. Blair

Professor, Department of Family and Community Medicine 

Research Area: Shared decision making among health disparity populations, health service delivery, and qualitative methodologies.

Learn more about Dr. Sussman

Assistant Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Preventive Medicine  

Research Area: Nutritional interventions to improve cancer outcomes during and after treatment in outpatient cancer care facilities, nutrition cancer care policy, cancer survivorship.

Learn more about Dr. Guest 

Distinguished Professor, Department of Internal Medicine, Division of Epidemiology, Biostatistics, and Preventive Medicine

Research Area: Etiology and survival of melanoma patients. Evaluating understanding and interest in genetic testing among New Mexicans and in establishing biomarkers to stratify melanoma patients into aggressive and non-aggressive disease in order to improve treatment

Learn more about Dr. Berwick

Regents’ Professor, College of Pharmacy, Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences

Research Area: Metals toxicology and cancer biology including biochemical, cellular, organismal and population studies

Learn more about Dr. Hudson

ECHO model as a platform for: service delivery, education and evaluation; creation of coordinated care systems for high health care utilizers; and, disruptive innovations in specialty care.

Learn more about Dr. Arora

Environmental health, effects of complex inhaled pollutant mixtures on health outcomes.

Learn more about Dr. Campen

Epidemiology to shape policy decisions and evidence-based interventions by reducing uncertainty in population level exposures to environmental pollutants, key risk factors and targets for intervention.

Learn more about Dr. Gonzalez 

Cultural and environmental contributors to health; environmental exposures and birth outcomes, cancer risk, and risk reduction.

Learn more about Dr. Lewis 

Breast cancer epidemiology, breast cancer survival disparities in Hispanic women, breast premalignant conditions, and over-diagnosis of breast cancer.

Learn more about Dr. Hill

Prevention and management of obesity in school-based health centers, sexually-transmitted infections, and unintended pregnancy prevention intervention.

Learn more about Dr. Kong

Statistical methodologies, observational epidemiologic studies, clinical trials.

Learn more about Dr. Pankratz 

Molecular epidemiology, molecular diagnostic development, translational spectrum of cancer etiology, diagnosis, and prevention.

Learn more about Dr. Wheeler