Alumna Receives Prestigious Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans
Cerritos College graduate Diana A. Yanez was named a 2018 recipient of the Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowships for New Americans, a premier graduate school fellowship for immigrants and children of immigrants. Diana was among 30 fellows selected from a pool of 1,766 applicants for her potential to make significant contributions to U.S. society, culture, and her academic field STEM. Diana will receive up to $90,000 in funding for her MD-PhD degree at Yale University, and joins the prestigious community of recipients from past years, which includes former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy, Lieutenant Governor Cyrus Habib of Washington, award-winning writer Kao Kalia Yang, and nearly 600 other New American leaders.
Diana was born in California and raised in Tijuana, Mexico. From a young age, she learned the value of hard work from her parents who sacrificed their life to raise her and her siblings. After high school, she moved back to the United States in pursuit of academic and professional opportunities. She is deeply grateful to her family and friends for their continuous support throughout her journey. Diana graduated from Cerritos College in 2010 with an A.A. in natural sciences. Diana was part of Project HOPE, a support program for underrepresented students in healthcare- or science-related fields. She also participated in the Bridges to Baccalaureate summer research program at California State University, Long Beach. Diana received five scholarships, including the Project Hope Transfer Scholarship, American Association of University Women scholarship, John Boyle Scholarship, Demian-Carreon Scholarship, and the Mavis Leno Scholarship.
Diana’s interest in medicine and research grew at Cerritos College thanks to her dedicated professors. She graduated with highest honors, and transferred to UCLA, where she obtained a B.S. in molecular, cell and developmental biology and a minor in biomedical research. After graduation, she co-invented a system that improves the CRISPR-Cas9 genome editing technology, which is used to study disease mechanisms and develop therapies.
Now at Yale, Diana is investigating the role of immune cells in the development of skin cancer in the department of experimental pathology. Additionally, she is proud to be a part of HAVEN, a student-run free clinic. Her long-term goal is to manage her own cancer immunology research laboratory, and help underserved patient patients.
“I am very grateful to the Cerritos College Project HOPE. I could not have done it without their guidance. I am also thankful to the Cerritos College Foundation for supporting and motivating me through the Academic Excellence Award in biology and scholarships,” said Diana.