Doctoral student Cuc Tran will be honored for mentoring contributions!

Cuc Tran, a doctoral student in the department of environmental and global health, is a recipient of UF’s 2014 Graduate Student Mentoring Award. Given by UF’s Innovation Through Institutional Integration program, or I-Cubed, the award recognizes graduate students in STEM disciplines who help others succeed as graduate or undergraduate students or in K-12 classrooms. She will be recognized at a ceremony October 28 during UF’s Graduate Student Research Day.

Tran, who holds a UF bachelor’s degree in food science and human nutrition and a master’s degree in public health, has mentored high school, bachelor’s and master’s level students. Under her guidance, Tran’s mentees have presented research projects at local meetings and submitted manuscripts for publication in major journals. They have gone on to pursue advanced degrees and work at local public health agencies and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Cuc was one of the first people who truly believed in my abilities in public health,” said mentee Eduardo Subero, who graduated from PHHP’s bachelor’s in health science program with an honors thesis that stemmed from Tran’s dissertation work. “She is the rare combination every mentee wants in a mentor: personable, patient and always looking for new ways to challenge me on how I think about public health issues.”

A recent recipient of a prestigious training fellowship from UF’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute, Tran’s research interests include influenza control and school-based influenza vaccination programs. Before starting her doctoral studies, she served as the coordinator for the School-Located Influenza Vaccination program in Alachua County, which provided influenza vaccinations to more than 30,000 children and has been recognized by the CDC and the American Medical Association.

Tran credits many mentors for playing a key role in her educational and professional successes, including George Gibbs of the Alachua County Health Department, Parker Small, M.D., a UF professor emeritus of pediatrics, and J. Glenn Morris, M.D., M.P.H., a professor and director of UF’s Emerging Pathogens Institute.

“I had always wondered how I could ever repay my mentors for their boundless patience, guidance and confidence in me,” she said. “It was not until I had mentees of my own that I understood how extremely rewarding it can be to help someone grow. This is my gift to my mentors, and I hope that my mentees have the same amazing mentee-mentor relationships I have had.”