Meet our 2023 Recipients
“This is the first year we are back since COVID19 hit in 2020 and we are thrilled with the number and excellence of our scholarship applicants,“ reported Dr. Santos-Martins. “The decision process was difficult, but it highlights the immense achievements and potential of our Portuguese-American students. We are counting on the support of our communities to enable us to continue expanding the Dr. Edward Leitão Memorial Scholarship Fund. We also strongly encourage the applicants not awarded scholarships to reapply in the future, and to continue in contact with us as we are available for mentoring and to help with networking,”
Dr. Helena Santos-Martins, Chair and Co-Founder
Julia Mateus, a second-generation Portuguese-American, is a senior at Ludlow High School who is planning to become a physical therapist. As an athlete herself, she understands how important it is for athletes to have a quick and smooth recovery. After suffering her own sports-related injury that became healed after physical therapy, she wants to provide all athletes with the best quality of care. “I adore the idea of being able to help members of my community gain strength and confidence in themselves, ultimately leading to the return to their daily routines, or the sport they love.” said Mateus.
Marisa Da Costa just graduated Magna Cum Laude from UMass Amherst with a B.S. in Public Health Sciences in 2022 and her next step is medical school. She is still deciding whether being an OB-GYN or going into primary care will be her path but we are confident that she will excel in whatever she pursues. Coming from a Portuguese family from southern MA, she is honored to be able to serve a broader community of patients who only speak Portuguese or Spanish and we are excited to help her continue her medical journey. “I look forward to bridging the gap between patient and provider for the Portuguese American community and connecting with my patients on a deeper level, cultivating trust and rapport to ultimately provide higher quality healthcare.” said Da Costa.
Sophia Costa finished her Master of Science in Chemistry at UMass Dartmouth this past May and started a Physician Assistant program at MCPHS earlier his month. Growing up as a second-generation Portuguese-American, she is very connected with the community of Fall River and wants to help the community she grew up with. “What I’m most passionate about now in the Portuguese community is trying to demolish the language barrier, especially in the medical field, and encourage preventative care. I want people to feel comfortable with someone who can understand their culture and communicate with them.” said Costa.
Stephanie De Carvalho is finishing up her fourth-year of medical school at the University of New England College of Osteopathic Medicine where she will graduate this spring. Growing up in Rhode Island as a first-generation Portuguese-American, she has been immersed in the community her whole life and wants to be able to give back and serve portuguese families as a pediatric neurologist. “I have witnessed firsthand the barriers that immigrant families face as they navigate healthcare in the United States. I hope to be a resource for families of all backgrounds as a physician.” said De Carvalho.
Mariana Do Carmo is a MD-PhD student at the Yale School of Medicine pursuing experimental Pathology. Born in Portugal but moving to the US at just 3 months old, she became immersed in the Portuguese-American community of Newark, NJ and became completely bilingual. As an undergrad at Yale, she co-founded the Yale Undergraduate Portuguese Association (YUPA) and became the editor for the Portuguese section of Accent, Yale’s Multilingual Magazine. As someone not only connected to her culture but who prides herself on cultivating a strong Portuguese-American community throughout New England, it is no surprise she continues this passion while in medical school. We are looking forward to see her continued success in the community both in and outside of Yale. “The years I spent translating for her in hospitals led me to aspire to effectively communicate with and empower patients as a physician. By observing physicians interacting with my grandma, I learned the importance of taking time to engage with a patient beyond giving an impersonal diagnosis. Those physicians that made her blush when they called her linda, beautiful, and that made sure I had translated and obtained her thoughts on the best option for her treatments left the strongest impact on us both.” said Do Carmo.
Ana Luisa Silva, MD is a Portuguese doctor who attended the Instituto de Ciências Biomédicas Abel Salazar da Universidade Medicina do Porto and is pursuing her residency in the US. Before coming to Boston, she completed her Family Medicine residency in Portugal. and then worked as an attending physician in the Netherlands and Portugal, but came to Boston to be able to serve both the American and Portuguese communities here. Her international perspective is unique and refreshing and will certainly be a great addition to the Portuguese-American medical community here in New England. We are proud to have her as the first international graduate student to be awarded this scholarship! “I truly believe that patients should feel the same proximity and security as they were in their home country. I want to learn and serve this community, improving the representativity of Portuguese-speaking health professionals in New England and inspiring younger generations.” said Silva.