UROC sets Orozco on career path

Kinesiology student Breanna Orozco has earned a prestigious scholarship from the American College of Sports Medicine, one of only two students in the country to earn the award.

Breanna OrozcoThe scholarship is named for Lawrence Golding, a former editor of ACSM’s journal. According to CSUMB Professor Bill Head, Dr. Golding believed applicants should be able to summarize in three sentences their responses to a trio of questions. He wanted to capture intent, spirit, commitment, leadership, professional values and the ambitions of the candidate in a brief statement.

The awards go to students who have made significant contributions to their community’s health, fitness or education, and that’s where Orozco shines.

Through CSU Monterey Bay’s Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center (UROC), Orozco spent last summer doing research at the University of Southern California. She worked on a project funded by the National Cancer Institute that examined if exercise programs would benefit breast cancer patients. It will be another year before the project ends and results are analyzed.

Orozco’s first research project involved the university’s workplace wellness program, which she undertook at the suggestion of her UROC mentor, Dr. Lisa Leininger.

She helped to collect data – blood pressure, body mass index, weight – and analyze the results. She has presented the results at two conferences, including a meeting of the ACSM in Newport Beach.

UROC, and the McNair Scholars program that is housed there, have opened doors for her.

Orozco presents research on workplace wellness at CSUMB“I am provided opportunities that would not have been possible had it not been for the McNair Scholars Program and the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Center,” Orozco said. “McNair funded my work at USC last summer and both programs paid for me to present my research ar several conferences.”

Orozco, a junior, will graduate in May 2015, and plans to pursue a doctorate in biokinesiology at USC.

“As an aspiring Latina research professor, I will serve as an example for underrepresented minorities in science, technology, engineering and mathematics,” she said.