The Latin American Studies program has launched a new initiative this fall semester to recognize the volunteer efforts of LAS students in the community. Brittany Zengotita is the first LAS student to be recognized for her contributions to the UCF and Central Florida community.
Brittany is pursuing a double major in Latin American Studies with the College of Arts and Humanities in addition to a Bachelor of Science degree in Biomedical Sciences with the College of Medicine. Soon after completing the LAS Spanish Heritage study abroad program this summer in Spain, she interned at Johns Hopkins University, where she studied neurodegenerative disease genetics in the Neuromyelitis Optica lab. She is currently working on an Honors in the Major thesis that focuses on Neuromyelitis Optica in Latin American nations. She continues to pursue research opportunities in neurodegenerative disease, a project with UCF faculty that she hopes to continue until she graduates from UCF.
In spite of Ms. Zengotita’s heavy academic schedule, she is also a member of the neuroscience alliance and plans to pursue volunteering opportunities in the Central Florida Brain Bee this year, which provides undergraduates focused in neuroscience the opportunity to volunteer in Orange County Public School high schools; this volunteer after-school program for the neuroscience clubs, familiarizes high school students with the materials they need to learn to compete with other schools to participate in the final competition in Baltimore. She was a part of the Read2Succeed program helping 1st-grade students improve their reading skills and mentoring and an iACE mentor for the Division of Teaching and Learning at UCF.
Ms. Zengotita’s career goal is to establish an International Medical Outreach Clinic in a rural area that is underserved in medicine, hopefully in one of the countries in Latin America. Brittany is an excellent example of other LAS majors who have the passion and dedication for helping others in the community.