2014 Equity Intern: Selina Garces

Garces_Selina_150Selina Garces does not hide from her humble start in life in her native town of Brownsville, Texas.  The Lower Rio Grande Valley is among the most economically and socially underprivileged regions of the nation.  Selina's mother and father spent most of their working lives in service jobs, earning no more than minimum wage.  Neither of her parents attended college, although her father eventually earned his GED.

Seeing the lack of access to dental care among many community members, Selina became motivated to pursue higher education opportunities in order to serve her family and community. 

"I could have slipped into the slums of Brownsville, Texas, as many of my peers did, but my low socio-economic surroundings motivated me to achieve my objective of attending and graduating from dental school to provide health care to others in similar financial circumstances," she says. 

Through hard work and determination, Selina has a clear path toward her dream of earning a Doctor of Medical Dentistry (DMD) degree.  As a junior at the University of Texas at Brownsville, Selina maintains a 3.9 GPA, while working part-time as an intern at a private dental practice.  She's a UT-Brownsville "University Scholar" and has consistently made it to the President's List.  Selina passed the Dental Admission Test on her first attempt, securing a guaranteed slot at the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston School of Dentistry.

Nonetheless, Selina is driven to accomplish more, particularly in earning skills training in and exposure to laboratory research.  Here at OHSU, Selina is spending the summer in the dentistry track of the Summer Equity Research Internship Program. She is one of only 18 students from across Oregon and the United States who were selected to participate in the internship program that provides hands-on research and clinical shadowing opportunities for diverse students. Selina is working with faculty mentor Kirsten J. Lampi, M.S., Ph.D., in the Integrative Biosciences departments at the OHSU School of Dentistry.

Selina's long-term goal is to practice dentistry in underserved communities.  She continues to make every effort to improve the quality of her life through educational achievement with the ultimate goal of having a positive impact on her community.

Interested in the Summer Equity Internship Program? Contact David Martinez for more information.

Posted on July 3, 2014. Photo and write-up by Maileen Hamto.