Two of UC Merced’s newest postdoctoral researchers, Colleen Cheverko and Maria-Elena Young, received the Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship (CPFP) for 2018-2019.
The fellowships, which are for one year with a potential one-year renewal, provide professional development and faculty mentoring to outstanding postdoc scholars whose research, teaching and service contribute to diversity and equal opportunity at the University of California.
Young, who is from an immigrant family, grew up in a diverse community in Oakland.
“That was my motivation to go into public health research, especially looking at how immigration systems shape well-being,” she said.
Her research focuses on the effects of the U.S. immigration system on the health of immigrant populations and examines the relationship between health inequities and factors such as citizenship and legal status and state and local policies. She seeks to understand the various structural, institutional and individual mechanisms that link policy with health outcomes.
“I am lucky to have mentors in two fields, so it gives me different perspectives,” she said.
She will also resume the research she began at UCLA, which seeks to understand the experiences of Latino and Asian immigrants in California in the areas of health care, social services, employment, education and law enforcement and how these experiences have affected their health and access to health care.
“I’m looking at how they navigate things like getting a license or obtaining health care. How do they deal with barriers they come across?” she said.
Young earned a Ph.D. in Community Health Sciences at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, where she was a graduate student researcher at the Center for Health Policy Research and contributed to the Remaining Uninsured Access to Community Health Centers (REACH) Project. She received a master's degree in public health with an emphasis on maternal and child health from UC Berkeley School of Public Health.