Meet our 2024 Recipients
“This year we are celebrating our 9th anniversary 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,” emphasized the physician.
Anabel Guerreiro, is from Fairfield CT and a senior at The Lawrenceville School in NJ. She is a passionate advocate for education and inclusivity in the scientific community. Embracing her second-generation Portuguese-American heritage, Anabel's transformative visit to Portugal highlighted the value her family places on education. Committed to giving back, she serves as a prefect at Lawrenceville, fostering diversity and a sense of belonging. Anabel's love for physics and exploration extends to her vision of creating an inclusive scientific community. With a deep understanding of the privilege of learning, she aspires to lead a scientific community that explores the wonders of the world and benefits all equitably. "My education is the greatest gift I have. In addition to getting the most out of my own experience, it is my responsibility to share that blessing with my community,” said Anabel. Her journey is marked by a dedication to education, a passion for science, and a commitment to making a positive impact on her community and beyond.
Anthony Gregorio, a senior at Granby High School, has been recently accepted into Western New England University’s Pharmacy program that he will begin in the Fall. A first generation Portuguese-American Anthony's visit to Portugal in 2018 strengthened his connection to family roots. Inspired by his parents and grandparents' hard work, he aspires to become the first in his family to achieve a Doctorate degree and make a difference as a pharmacist in his community. In his own words, Anthony expressed, "The Dr. Edward Leitao Memorial Scholarship would help me financially accomplish my goal of becoming a pharmacist." Anthony's journey is defined by resilience, gratitude, and a commitment to bridging healthcare gaps for individuals like his grandparents, who face language barriers and questions regarding medications.
Emily Rodrigues is a first-generation Portuguese college student at Rhode Island College and is on a journey to become a Diagnostic Medical Sonographer. Faced with early language barriers, she diligently worked to excel academically. Diman Vocational Technical Regional High School provided valuable opportunities, and Emily's determination is evident in her pursuit of higher education. In her own words, Emily expressed, "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." Emily's commitment to breaking language barriers in healthcare reflects her aspiration to make a difference in the medical field and ensure cultural understanding for patients in her community.
Carolina Lopes is from Guimarães, Portugal and has been studying in the US for several years. She finished her Bachelors of Science in Biochemistry and Biotechnology at Tufts University this past May. Currently engaged in the field of healthcare, she works as a Research Assistant for the Department of Neurosurgery at Boston Children’s Hospital. Inspired by her experiences, she shared, "This summer, I started working as a Research Assistant... most importantly, it has been the confirmation that my vocation is to become a doctor... When I practice medicine, I want to have a holistic approach and be able to empower my patients to make medical decisions that best fit their lifestyle and goals.” Her commitment to breaking language barriers in healthcare is evident as she envisions a medical landscape where cultural inclusivity and language proficiency empower patients.
Brianna Melo, a dedicated nursing student at Rhode Island College, is driven by a profound connection to her Portuguese-American heritage and a passion for making a difference in healthcare. Inspired by her parents' immigration story for a better life, she embraces the values of community, hard work, and humility. With a clear vision for her future, Brianna shares, "My goal is to obtain a BSN in nursing and soon afterwards go for my masters. I envision making a difference by providing quality care and helping advocate for the Portuguese community." Committed to overcoming barriers and ensuring the best healthcare for her community, Brianna represents a new generation of healthcare professionals making a positive impact.
Diogo Maia e Silva, MD, PhD, is a physician-scientist from Caldas da Rainha and is currently pursuing postdoctoral research at Massachusetts General Hospital. With a degree in Medicine from the University of Lisbon, he is applying for Pathology residency in New England. He envisions building bridges between Portugal and the US, embracing a Portuguese-American identity. Committed to advancing human health, especially within Portuguese communities in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, Diogo seeks to provide accurate diagnoses to cancer patients. Excited about leading training opportunities for Portuguese graduates in the US, he emphasizes mentorship and support for the next generation.
Diogo expressed, "The Dr. Edward Leitão Memorial Scholarship would provide key financial support on a costly journey towards impactful medical practice and support of our Portuguese-American community." His dedication to professional growth and community advancement shines through his impactful journey.