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Paving the Way for Indigenous Scholars

My name is Dominique Pablito and I am a member of the Zuni, Navajo, and Comanche tribes. I grew up on the Cherokee, Zuni, and Navajo reservations, which allowed me to learn my indigenous languages before starting college. I graduated high school at the age of 15 and started at the University of Utah in the fall of 2015. I will be graduating this spring with a bachelor of science in chemistry.

During my sophomore year, I applied to the PathMaker Program with no wet lab experience. I had learned about the program while I was searching for undergraduate research internships and was very interested because of the program’s focus on training members of underrepresented minorities. After I was accepted into PathMaker, I was placed in the Bhaskara Lab at Huntsman Cancer Institute (HCI), where I was mentored and trained by Srividya Bhaskara, PhD. After completing the PathMaker Program, I was able to get a job working in the Bhaskara Lab.


The training I received throughout the PathMaker Program helped me become an independent researcher with the necessary skills to conduct meaningful research. My hard work and dedication have resulted in multiple research awards and grants, including the NIH Diversity Supplement Grant. My first research publication will come out this year. I have also completed two internships at Harvard University and Harvard Medical School.

My time in the PathMaker Program taught me how to apply for research grants, develop and maintain a professional network, craft research posters, and so much more. At the start of the program, I did not think I had what it took to be a successful researcher. I continuously failed and made mistakes in the lab, but I never gave up. Through failure and continuous struggle, I learned I do indeed have what it takes to be a researcher.

dominiuque pablito

I am still working in Dr. Bhaskara’s lab and have been for three years. I was recently accepted into Brown University’s Molecular Biology, Cell Biology, and Biochemistry PhD program. The PathMaker Program definitely had a significant impact on my career path. It was what opened the door to the research world and provided me with the support I needed even after completing the program. I learned that even though my internship ended, the relationships and contacts I gained in the program did not. PathMaker has helped me in every step of my career, and I will be forever grateful. I encourage all students interested in research or medicine to apply. I can confidently say I would not be where I am today if it weren’t for the PathMaker Program.

HCI has a plethora of research opportunities, resources, and professional networks. I am proud to say I work here. I feel valued by my colleagues and I plan to take everything that I have learned back to my reservation to pave a way for future indigenous scholars.


About PathMaker Programs for Cancer Research

The PathMaker program is a one-on-one mentored research experience for high school seniors and undergraduate students from underrepresented or marginalized backgrounds who are interested in pursuing careers in research, medicine, and education.