For Tino Sanchez, walking across the stage on May 11 and receiving his degree from USC is a dream come true. And it’s been long in coming.
“I grew up in the neighborhood,” Sanchez said, “so I had always wanted to go to USC.”
While attending Bravo Medical Magnet High School, Sanchez was a part of the Med-COR program, which promotes health and medical careers for students in the Los Angeles Unified School District and gave him a taste of what USC had to offer.
When the time came for college, Sanchez was accepted at USC, but he chose the University of California, Davis, where he wanted to learn about independence and broaden his horizons away from home. Upon graduation, he became the third member of his extended family to receive an undergraduate degree.
Sanchez later returned to Los Angeles, began work as a lab technician at USC and started taking classes at the School of Pharmacy. Eventually, he was accepted into the doctoral program, where he distinguished himself in HIV/AIDS research, with support from the California HIV/AIDS Research program and the National Institutes of Heath. He already has published nearly 30 papers published in the field.
While the lab work kept him busy, Sanchez found time to be active in the school’s Pharmacy Explorers Program. As part of the program, he visited local high schools, encouraging students to achieve their dreams. In fact, Sanchez mentored 15 high school students during his USC years and proudly reported that 14 of them have gone on to become science majors in either college or graduate school.
“I think it’s our duty to give back, not just when we’ve accomplished our goals, but even along the way.”
On Friday, Sanchez will be awarded a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical sciences from the School of Pharmacy. He will be the first in his family to receive a postgraduate degree.
“Since my mom is one of 19 kids, there are lots of cousins and aunts and uncles. My big problem now is who gets tickets to attend the School of Pharmacy ceremony.”
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