The Pathway Scholars Program Class of 2024:
The Pathway Scholars Program Class of 2024:

Pathway Scholars Program Celebrates 10 Years and Graduation of Latest Cohort

Chase Congleton
Chase Congleton
The Pathway Scholars Program Class of 2024:
The Pathway Scholars Program Class of 2024:
Pathway Scholars Program celebrated ten years of training students and graduates who will join the Class of 2028

The Pathway Scholars Program celebrated its 10-year anniversary and the graduation of its most recent cohort of students. This year, 12 Pathway Scholars earned their master’s degrees in medical studies and will matriculate into the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix’s Class of 2028 in July.

Dr. Manriquez, who directed the Pathway Scholars Program for the last 10 years, was honored during the ceremony
Dr. Manriquez, who directed the Pathway Scholars Program for the last 10 years, was honored during the ceremony

The Pathway Scholars Program is a pipeline program that prepares underrepresented students for medical school. Through the program, the students develop foundational and scientific skills to help them succeed as medical students.

Maria Manriquez, MD, director of the Pathway Scholars Program for the last ten years, welcomed everyone and reflected on a decade of the program.

“We wanted to find exceptional people who were denied the education or mentoring they required to go to medical school due to geographical or social factors,” Dr. Manriquez said. “There is a significant disparity in the number of Black, Hispanic, rural, immigrant and multilingual physicians compared to the population.”

Scores of faculty, family members and Pathway Scholars alumni attended the celebration held May 10 in the Virginia G. Piper Auditorium. Fred E. Wondisford, MD, MS, MBA, dean of the UArizona College of Medicine – Phoenix, provided the welcoming remarks.

“Communities like to be served by people from the community, that is really the most important thing,” Dean Wondisford said. “I want to say congratulations to the Class of 2024. We will see each other soon.”

Rebecca Fisher, PhD, served as the ceremony’s keynote speaker. She discussed her experience with her first surgery for breast cancer, specifically how the team that cared for her, including her surgeon and anesthesiologist, were all women and how she had to overcome her fear of surgery.

Rebecca Fisher, PhD
Rebecca Fisher, PhD

“I thought about all of the challenges these women must have faced on the way to practicing medicine and how far we’ve come to this point in time,” Dr. Fisher said. “I felt an overwhelming sense of calm, confident that I was in the best hands. This is one example of the profound impact that all of you can have on your patients’ lives.”

Dr. Fisher also provided the graduating students with advice from lessons she has learned as a patient during her own cancer treatments. She said how isolating and frustrating it feels as a patient and noted the importance to advocate for yourself.

“Making assumptions about what your patients might want, or need undermines the trust that is essential to supporting them when they are most vulnerable,” Dr. Fisher said. “The best antidote to making assumptions is listening. Listening fosters a sense of partnership and mutual respect.”

Jonah Mayers was nominated by his peers to serve as the student speaker for the ceremony. In his speech, he acknowledged the various challenges he and his cohort have faced in their journey to becoming physicians.

“In the landscape of medicine, we often hear stories of extraordinary individuals who have overcome tremendous odds to become exemplary healers, and there are 12 here before you today,” Mayers said. “These stories are not just tales of perseverance, grit and determination, but are testaments to the transformative power of overcoming adversities.”

At the ceremony, it was announced that Dr. Manriquez would be stepping down from her role as director of the Pathway Scholars Program after ten years of service. Francisco Lucio, JD, senior associate dean of the college’s Office of Equity, Diversity and Inclusion, was announced as her successor.

Dr. Manriquez with Jonah Mayers
Dr. Manriquez with Jonah Mayers

“Inheriting something as beautiful and as accomplished with this kind of program, it happens in an easier way because something amazing happens by design,” Lucio said. “Dr. Manriquez, I want to thank you, and I appreciate the work that you did to put in a great team to help our students to be able to get to medical school.”

With the addition of the program’s Class of 2024, 104 alumni of the program have matriculated into the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix. As of 2024, 53 alumni have successfully matched to residencies. The first members of the 2014 cohort completed their residencies in 2023.

The Pathway Scholars Program Class of 2024:

  • Cora Shay Addie.
  • Muhaiman Said Alabdly.
  • Kathya Ceniceros.
  • Danny Contreras.
  • Michelle Ennabe.
  • Trevor Helton.
  • Jonah Mayers.
  • Alireza Moussavi.
  • Arantza Garcia Perez.
  • Arianna Tuomey.
  • Lynnette Valencia.
  • Kiera Vaughn.

About the College

Founded in 2007, the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Phoenix inspires and trains exemplary physicians, scientists and leaders to optimize health and health care in Arizona and beyond. By cultivating collaborative research locally and globally, the college accelerates discovery in a number of critical areas — including cancer, stroke, traumatic brain injury and cardiovascular disease. Championed as a student-centric campus, the college has graduated more than 800 physicians, all of whom received exceptional training from nine clinical partners and more than 2,700 diverse faculty members. As the anchor to the Phoenix Bioscience Core, which is projected to have an economic impact of $3.1 billion by 2025, the college prides itself on engaging with the community, fostering education, inclusion, access and advocacy.