Janine Flores, a junior biology major at St. John’s University who works as a research intern in a P&S lab, is one of the first Obama Scholars, a group of students supported by President Barak Obama’s Nobel Peace Prize. She was among Obama Scholars chosen by the Hispanic Scholarship Fund based on essays applicants wrote describing their interest in teaching in a science-related field. President Obama donated most of his $1.4 million Peace Prize to education-related causes, including the United Negro College Fund and the Hispanic Scholarship Fund. The rest of the prize money went to other charities.
Ms. Flores is an intern in the lab of Martha Welch’71, part of the BrainGut Initiative in the Department of Psychiatry and the Department of Pathology & Cell Biology.
Ms. Flores describes global medicine as her greatest interest because she wants to make contributions to developing nations such as those where her parents were born. She says the “humble background that my parents have come from has fostered my approach to academics and volunteering within my community. Attending medical school will be just a small pebble in the journey to greater things. Education is key to the advancement of society. I have lived it myself.”
Her first volunteer experience took place in the Hospital San Luis de Otavalo in Ecuador. There a young mother asked her to name her newborn and Janine humbly suggested her father’s name Wilson, because her father is a “good hard working father who loves me very much and I hoped her son would be just as caring.”
She also volunteers with the Association for the Advancement of the Blind and Retarded.