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Celebrating Health Sciences LEAP

Since 2001, over 500 students have made a successful “leap” from high school to college and found a fit at the University of Utah in Health Sciences LEAP.

Health Sciences LEAP supports health career exploration, strengthens academic skills, develops leadership, and encourages students to work together as an intentional learning community.

Our LEAP students have gone on to get graduate degrees from every school on the U of U Health campus and are contributing in amazing ways to our increasingly diverse community.

View a digital booklet of our graduating cohort!

Health Sciences LEAP Class of 2020

Arlyne Arteaga

Bachelor of Social Work

Arlyne Arteaga (she, her, hers) is graduating with a Bachelor of Social Work and is preparing herself to apply to medical school. Although she hasn’t decided on a profession yet, Arlyne has a passion for helping underserved and underrepresented communities and hopes to be “a culturally competent doctor that helps [her] community and teaches other doctors how to better practice holistic and mindful medicine.” Arlyne’s resilience placed her on the Dean’s list throughout her undergraduate career and provided her the opportunity to be president of LIA and SOMOS Dreamers for a term. She credits the HS LEAP program for helping her make her first group of college friends/community and plans to continue staying in touch.

Arlyne’s advice to students: “Life is the best teacher, just as it is. It is the toughest teacher. It won't tolerate slothfulness for long. It's always throwing some difficult problem your way and then seeing what you will do with it. But the toughest experiences are always the greatest lessons.”

Ivan Cardenas

Bachelor of Science, Psychology; Chemistry Minor

Ivan Cardenas (he, him, his) is a 2020 Health Sciences LEAP graduate receiving a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Minor in Chemistry. He was recently accepted into the University of Utah’s Doctorate of Medicine program and is excited to continue his educational career at the U. Ivan’s favorite experience in the HS LEAP program was being able to share the last four years with his cohort. As a new graduate, he advises current students to remember “everything will be okay!”

Maya Correa

Bachelor of Science, Health, Society and Policy; Sociology Minor

Maya Correa (she, her, hers) is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Health, Society and Policy with a Sociology Minor. When reflecting on her academic career, she is especially proud of her leadership and involvement as an officer for Latinos in Action (LIA) and promoting a campus community for Latinx students. Some of her favorite experiences with the Health Sciences LEAP program includes class discussions on health disparities and cultural collision in health care. Maya is planning on pursuing a Masters in Public Health and a career in epidemiology. “Tribal health and immigrant population health are two big areas of interest of mine. In the future, I would also love to support policy change that promotes harm reduction practices in community health sectors.”

Favorite Quote: “People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”   - Maya Angelou

Loveleen Ghuman

Bachelor of Arts, Philosophy of Science; Bachelor of University Studies, Neuroscience

Loveleen Ghuman (she, her, hers) is graduating with two degrees, a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy of Science and a Bachelor of University Studies in Neuroscience. While at the University of Utah as a HS LEAP student, Loveleen was a Dean’s List awardee, U of U Merit Scholarship recipient, Undergraduate Research Scholar, Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute’s Innovation Scholar, and LEAP peer advisor. Her favorite HS LEAP experience was learning about biomedical ethics, which she credits as “the initial spark” in founding her non-profit organization: International Health Scholars. Loveleen’s organization strives to “educate and empower aspiring global health professionals to be critical of and conscious in the field,” and she is working towards this goal by pursuing and MD-MPH program with hopes to “work in the global health sphere and bridge the gap between primary healthcare access and underserved populations.”

Ana Rosas Herrera

Honors Bachelor of Science, Biology; Chemistry Minor; Psychology Minor

Ana Rosas Herrera (she, her, hers) is a Health Sciences LEAP graduate with an Honors Bachelor of Science in Biology and a double-minor in Chemistry and Psychology. While an honors student and HS LEAP participant, Ana also joined the University of Utah as a Diversity Scholar and received an Undergraduate Research Scholar Designation and Edward Lifesciences Scholarship. However, Ana's proudest accomplishment is her acceptance into a few different medical schools. She looks forward to making her final selection soon.

Alexandra Kandas-Yengich

Bachelor of Science, Biomedical Engineering; Chemistry Minor

Alexandra Kandas-Yengich (she, her, hers) is a recent Health Sciences LEAP graduate with a Bachelor of Science in Engineering with a Chemistry Minor. Alexandra was fortunate to receive several scholarships and hopes to continue her academics to reach her goal of becoming a physician. When reflecting on her undergraduate career, she is most proud of “being able to offer my time towards those in need by helping to provide meals, clothing, and showing kindness.” Her favorite HS LEAP experience was the friendships and connections she made during her time at the U.

Favorite Quote: “Not all of us can do great things but we can do small things with great love.” - Mother Teresa

Jennifer Loya

Bachelor of Science, Psychology; Chemistry Minor

Jennifer Loya (she, her, hers) is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a Chemistry Minor. While enrolled in the Health Sciences LEAP program, Jennifer was able to work with Dr. Alex Terrill’s team on Positive Psychology Intervention, which assists stroke patients to become more resilient and decrease post-stroke depression levels. She especially enjoyed the comradery of the HS LEAP program and being part of “a tight knit group and were we all wanted the best for one another.” Jennifer is planning on taking the MCAT and applying to medical school soon.

Her advice to current students: “focus on studying. I know it's hard but believe me it is going to be worth it.”

Amy Nguyen

Bachelor of Science, Health, Society and Policy; Chemistry Minor

Amy Nguyen (she, her, hers) is a recent Health Sciences LEAP graduate receiving a Bachelor of Science in Health, Society and Policy with a Minor in Chemistry. As a first-generation student, she is excited to graduate and pursue her education in medical school. Along with being a HS LEAP student, Amy served as an Alternative Breaks chair, Americorps member, Beehve Honor Society member, Connect2Health site leader, and 4th Street Clinic volunteer. As such, she was awarded the Community Partners New U Experience Scholarship, Execeptional Community Engagement Award, LEAP Health Sciences Scholar, Regents Scholar, Suit Up Scholar, Undergraduate Research Scholar, and Dean’s List recognition. “My experiences at the University of Utah, as a whole, have been integral to who I am today and who I had aspired to be. Though I learned a lot from my classes, I believe that I learned more about myself through the experiences that I have had and hope that I have a lasting impact on the university the way the university has had a lasting impact on me.”

Hanthao Phan

Bachelor of Science, Biology - Cell and Molecular Emphasis; Chemistry Minor

Hanthao Phan (she, her, hers) is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Biology with a Cell and Molecular Emphasis and Chemistry Minor. Her most cherished memories of the Health Sciences LEAP program include meeting her best friend, supporting her cohort, and helping first-year HS LEAP students acclimate to the U. Hanthao utilized her undergraduate term by working on dental research, a dental mission to rural Colombia, and presenting at conferences. During this time, she assisted with writing five papers – three of which have been submitted to journal publications and two awaiting submission – and was awarded the Trustees Scholarship, a Biology departmental scholarship, and a team award for Best Poster at the UDA 2019 Conference. She is currently working on his application to dental school.

Favorite quote: “give the ones you love wings to fly, roots to come back, and reasons to stay” – Dalai Lama

Anthony Phero

Bachelor of Science, Chemistry

Anthony Phero (he, him, his) is graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry. During his time as a Health Sciences LEAP student, he received multiple recognitions and awards including the American Chemical Society Project SEED Scholarship, Helping Hands Scholarship, Founders Day and Achievement Scholarship, Hospital Elder Life Program Travel Scholarship, and Dean’s List. However, he is most proud of his participation in the Quality Improvement Project which was accepted for presentation at the Presidential Poster Session at the American Geriatrics Society Conference. Anthony is currently working on his application to medical school and advises that “if you fundamentally believe that the path you are on is the right one, then the obstacles become a part of the journey.”

Melinda Salisbury

Bachelor of Science, Kinesiology

Melinda Salisbury (she, her, hers) is receiving a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology. While at the University of Utah, Melinda served as the vice president for the National Society of Leadership and Success and enjoyed the many friendships she made with her LEAP cohort and the surrounding community. She hopes to utilize her degree by using movement to help individuals with mental and physical illnesses and plans on continuing her education by pursuing a degree in dance movement therapy or physical therapy.

“LEAP has helped me to improve my confidence in everything that I do. It helped me gain so much experience in research, presenting and writing. I am grateful for Health Sciences LEAP program and Dr. Bliss for providing me with so many wonderful opportunities!”

Favorite Quote: “It’s up to you how far you go. If you don’t try, you’ll never know.” - The Sword in the Stone

Brekka Weng

Honors Bachelor of Science, Biomedical Engineering; Mathematics Minor

Brekka Weng (she, her, hers) is a recent Health Sciences LEAP graduate receiving an Honors Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering with a Mathematics Minor. She was a recipient of the International Students and Scholars Scholarship and is planning on continuing her education at the University of Utah as a Ph.D. student in biomedical engineering. Brekka is excited to be “almost done with this B.S.” and is particularly proud that she was able to complete both her major and minor in four years.