Natalia Suarez, MA Assistant Director, Career Pathways
Natalia Suarez serves as the Assistant Director of Career Pathways at the UI Health Office of Diversity & Community Health Equity, which includes UI Health CHAMPIONS.
Since 2017, alongside a dedicated team of pre-health and health professional students, Natalia continues to design and implement health career exposure and health advocacy programs for high school youth across the University of Illinois Chicago, Rockford, and Urbana-Champaign campuses, with a collective mindset to prepare youth to become future health professionals and motivate them to serve as community health advocates.
Natalia earned her MA in Anthropology from the University of Kansas, and her undergraduate degree in International Relations from the Universidad de las Américas-Puebla, Mexico. In Fall 2021, Natalia completed the University of Illinois Chicago School of Public Health, Health Disparities Research Certificate program.
Jennifer Plascencia, MPH Program Coordinator
Jennifer Plascencia serves as the Program Coordinator for UI Health CHAMPIONS. Jennifer has worked across numerous UIC & UI Health programs since 2019. She currently facilitates curriculum development, program implementation, and evaluation for UI Health CHAMPIONS.
Jennifer earned her Master of Public Health from the UIC School of Public Health and her Bachelor of Science in Neuroscience from the University of Michigan.
Daniel Carrion, BS, Program Assistant
Daniel first started as a CHAMPIONS high school program participant in the fall of 2017 and became one of the first program high school coordinators in the summer of 2018. Daniel was a UIC Urban Health Program Undergraduate Student Worker and served as an Urban Health Club and CHAMPIONS Undergraduate Program Coordinator. In May 2023, Daniel graduated with a BS in Biochemistry and a minor in Sociology from UIC. Daniel is continuing his education at UIC in the MEd in Science Education program, working on the endorsement area of chemistry, intending to graduate in May 2024. He now serves as a CHAMPIONS Graduate Program Coordinator.
Rafa Torres, BA Program Assistant
Rafa Torres (He/Him) is a first-generation, Mexican-American college graduate from Northwestern University and second-year medical student at the University of Illinois College of Medicine - Rockford. Rafa serves as a UI Health CHAMPIONS Program Assistant; he is a member of Latino Medical Student Association, Student National Medical Association, Medical Students for Choice, and Volleyball Interest Group. Rafa is particularly interested in Emergency Medicine.
Nasyaarabella Danso currently serves as a UI Health CHAMPIONS Undergraduate Program Assistant. Although it is her first year with CHAMPIONS, she is filled with excitement for the opportunities that the summer holds. Nasyaarabella is a rising senior, majoring in Interdisciplinary Health Sciences at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, with aspirations to pursue a career in nursing.
Roqaya is serving as a UI Health CHAMPIONS Undergraduate Program Assistant this summer. As a Chicago resident, she hopes to expose participants to different health careers and career paths with the intention to empower participants to serve as community health advocates. Roqaya is majoring in Integrative Biology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and she is in the Honors program. She is also minoring in Chemistry. After completing her Bachelors degree she hopes to gain more clinical experience in medicine with the intention of pursuing an MD in the future.
Sharo is an Undergraduate Program Assistant for the UI Health Champions summer internship. She is a rising sophomore at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She is majoring in Community Health with a concentration in Health Planning and Administration, while on a Pre-PA track. She has a big interest in working with the community and educating them on opportunities to succeed.
Tyler is currently a CHAMPIONS Undergraduate Program Coordinator. Before becoming a student coordinator, Tyler was a CHAMPIONS high school participant in 2018, and has remained engaged with the program since. Tyler is a rising undergraduate junior at the University of Illinois Chicago, currently a Psychology major on the Pre-Medicine track.
The UI Health CHAMPIONS team also includes University of Illinois Chicago and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign pre-health professional and health professional student volunteers and instructors, as well as UI Health Emergency Medicine Resident mentors.