By Leonard Martinez
Cecilia Hinojosa, who graduated from UTEP with a B.A. in psychology in May 2016, was among 60 undergraduates from around the country chosen to present their research to Congress, congressional staff and federal agencies in Washington, D.C., in April 2016.
Hinojosa presented her work on nicotine addiction and diabetes. In clinical studies, it has been shown that diabetic individuals have a harder time quitting smoking than those who do not have diabetes.
Before making the trip to Washington, Hinojosa said she hoped members of Congress and others would see how much research is being done at the undergraduate level and how important that research is.
“I have been to many universities and the amount of hands-on experience undergraduates receive at UTEP is quite unique,” Hinojosa said.
Laura E. O’Dell, Ph.D., an associate professor in UTEP’s Department of Psychology, said Hinojosa is the type of student with whom every professor dreams to work.
“She is smart, hard working, honest and a team player,” O’Dell said. “Her dream is to become a clinical psychologist and work with and research patients suffering from [post-traumatic stress disorder].”
Hinojosa’s father and grandfather were in the military, which led to her want to serve her country.
“As I was conducting research on the many options I would have in the military, I saw the statistics on how many men and women were coming back from their tours overseas to deal with the debilitating disorder of post-traumatic stress disorder and saw this as my opportunity to serve my country,” Hinojosa said. “I have decided to dedicate my life to further the research in the area of PTSD.”
Hinojosa was accepted into the experimental psychology doctoral program at Tufts University, where she will be conducting neuroimaging studies on PTSD.