Photo of Ana Ibarra

Creative, Devoted, Leader

MCAT Prep Scholar, Hutto Patterson Fellow

I am woman in STEM studying Public Health and Integrative Biology. My goal is to work in the intersection of medicine, epidemiology research, and service to community. I seek to contribute towards the wellbeing of society by playing a role in the re-shaping and improvement of medical access and delivery, as well as access to medical education for underrepresented minorities. As a Mexican immigrant who grew up in California’s Central Coast, I draw a great deal of inspiration from my community. I am also a student parent currently having the privilege of raising a beautiful 8 year old daughter. I am a member of CalNERDS through the MCAT Scholar Program and the Hutto Patterson Fellowship. In the past, I have participated in various research projects ranging from hematopoietic stem cell investigation, to qualitative analysis of patient trust with their interactions with health coaches, to cognitive neuroscience research focused on attention cognitive training. Collectively, I have presented my research in 6 scientific symposiums and 2 national conferences. This year, I am one of the recipients of the McNair Scholarship, which will support my research focused on consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages amongst parents in Berkeley CA in light of the soda excise tax. I am also a former recipient of the Frank L. Howard Fellowship from the American Phytopathologic Society. At UC Berkeley, I am a member of the Biology Scholars Program and I spend most of my time performing research, raising my daughter, and working as a medical scribe. I recently started painting again, which is a hobby that I have had since I was a child, but had postponed for a long time due to my academic demands. Prior to my transfer to UC Berkeley, I participated as the co-founder of two annual events in my hometown, which are The Building Healthy Communities 5K Walk/Run and Ciclovia Salinas. Both of these events encourage physical activity and wellbeing amongst underrepresented residents and youth in Salinas CA. My involvement in these projects stemmed from my role as the president of the Students Interested in Medicine Associate at Hartnell College and the secretary of The Physics Club.

I am obtaining a medical degree and continue my involvement in research. I am specifically interested in becoming a professor and a mentor to students. I will make a contribution by implementing social justice and equity in my work in the midst of ongoing evolution of the medical field and access to scientific research and education. I also want to travel the world and give my daughter opportunities to discover her own passions.


Current Research: Syncretizing Powerlessness and Responsibility: How Berkeley’s Excise Tax on Soda is Changing the Narrative in Decision-Making to Consume Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Amongst Parents in Berkeley, CA Department: UC Berkeley School of Public Health PI: Karen Sokal-Gutierrez, MD, MPH. Clinical Professor, Community Health and Human Development, UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program McNair mentor: Tara D. Benesch, MD/MPH candidate Publications: Bull, C. T., Ortiz-Lytle, M. C., Ibarra, A. G., du Toit, L. J., and Reynolds G. J. 2014. First Report of Bacterial Blight of Crucifers Caused by Pseudomonas cannabina pv. alisalensis in Minnesota on Arugula (Eruca vesicaria subsp. sativa). Plant Disease 99:415. Publications in preparation: Thom, David MD, PhD; Wolf, J.; Gardner, H.; DeVore, D.; Ibarra, A. G.; Adler, S. PhD; Bodenheimer, T. MD; Grumbach, K. MD; Saba, G. PhD. 2016. A qualitative study of how health coaches support patients in making health-related decision and behavioral changes. Bull, C.T., Ibarra, A. G., Koike, S.T., Mauzey, S. M., Jardini, T.M., 2013. Monitoring the etiology of Pseudomonas syringe pv. apii and P. syringe pv. coriandricola on celery, cilantro, parsley, and fennel commercial plantings.


“Becoming a member of the Cal NERDS program was truly invaluable and one of the highlights of my undergraduate career at UC Berkeley. The moment I became a member, I felt cared for and validated as a student and future scientist. The support we are given through this program is truly amazing and unparalleled. Because of this program, I will have the opportunity to take a preparatory course for the MCAT which otherwise would be too expensive. In addition, I will have the opportunity to give back to my community through my fellowship. NERDS has also assisted me with professional development through resume building and social media presence, which will be extremely helpful as I go out into the workforce after graduation. These are very valuable opportunities, which I am extremely grateful for. However, one of the most valuable components of the program is that we have access to a mentors and staff who continuously demonstrate how much they care about the students. The program's staff is always available and present to provide advice and support when our lives become convoluted with demands, deadlines, achievements, and setbacks. I know that the staff genuinely care, and this makes a tremendous difference because it has created an environment of collaboration amongst the students. For this and much more, I am truly grateful.”