Former Maui Student Does Cancer Research on O‘ahu
Former Maui High School student Phyllis Raquinio is among a group of 19 students conducting cancer research at the University of Hawaiʻi Cancer Center this summer.
Raquinio’s project, “The Association of Type 2 Diabetes on Survival of Breast and Colorectal Cancer Patients in the Multiethnic Cohort” is part of an internship program in which students were selected through a highly competitive process.
“This internship means learning how cancer impacts people around the world and how other health- and non-health related issues play into cancer. It means learning new things about cancer that many people might not know and using that knowledge to fight back against cancer,” said Raquinio.
Out of 74 total applications 19 students were selected with an average GPA of 3.77. The internship projects include focuses such as cancer prevention and control measures, cancer epidemiology, bioinformatics, and basic cancer biology.
“The internship program characterizes the community engagement that is very important to the UH Cancer Center. We are able to reach out to young students across the island and help them get exposed to new research advances and cutting edge biomedical research. These students will become a part of Hawai‘i’s science and technology workforce,” said Dr. Randall Holcombe, UH Cancer Center director.
Program leaders say the internship provides valuable research experience, and exposes young people to possible careers in the life sciences. Past program interns have gone on to earn advanced degrees from top universities before returning to work in Hawai‘i as physicians or scientists.
The Cancer Center’s program places interns under the guidance of faculty mentors, who help them gain research experience and complete an independent project. Interns also present their research findings to their peers and to Cancer Center faculty through a poster session. The students receive a stipend for their work, which takes place over a two-month span. More than half of the Center’s summer interns were underrepresented minority students who are interested in pursuing careers in science.
A 2017 follow-up of 72 previous students showed:
• 73% obtained an undergraduate degree in a science field,
• 5% completed a medical degree,
• 5% had finished graduate school education in a research-oriented field,
• 34% are enrolled in an undergraduate science program,
• 13% are enrolled in a Master’s program and
• 23% are enrolled in a Medical School.
2017 Cancer Center Summer Interns
Two High School Students Funding
• Jommel Macaraeg (Waipahu High School) CURE
• Daven Ruggles (Kalaheo High School) CURE
17 Undergraduate Students
• Larissa Ault (Charter School of San Diego) attending UH Mānoa CURE
• Ivy Fernandes (Mid-Pacific Institute) attending Santa Clara University CURE
• Megan Ishii (Punahou) attending Scripps College CURE
• Jethro Macaraeg (Waipahu High School) attending Creighton CURE
• Jasmine Padamada (Keaʻau High School) attending UH Mānoa CURE
• Phyllis Raquinio (Maui High School) attending UH Mānoa CURE
• Nicholas Siu-Li (Hawaiʻi Baptist Academy) attending Santa Clara University CURE
• Makana Williams (Punahou) attending Yales CURE
• Casie Kubota (St. Andrews) attending UH Mānoa Meiji
• Victoria Mak (Punahou) attending Saint Louis University Meiji
• Lynn Nguyen (Punahou) attending UH Mānoa Meiji
• Mari Ogino (Pearl City) attending UH Mānoa Meiji
• Dylan Combs (Punahou) attending Harvard Friends
• Connor Goo (Punahou) attending USC Friends
• Nicholas Liu (ʻIolani) attending University of British Columbia Friends
• Lauren Muraoka (Hanalani) attending UH Mānoa Friends
• Dabe Sobol (Punahou) attending UH Mānoa Friends
The Center’s internship program is supported in part by the National Cancer Institute Cancer Center Support Grant CURE Supplement, an endowment from the Meiji Yasuda Life Insurance Company, and the Friends of the UH Cancer Center.