Meet Lucero Scholar Karina Fundora

March 11, 2019

The Dr. Cynthia Lucero Center Latino Mental Health Program (LMHP) offers a unique opportunity for William James College students who are interested in working with individuals from Latino cultures. Through intensive immersion in Spanish language and Hispanic cultures, students are prepared as culturally sensitive clini­cians with expertise to meet the particular mental health needs of this rapidly growing and underserved segment of the U.S. population.

The Dr. Cynthia Lucero Center was founded by friends and family of Dr. Cynthia Lucero, a graduate of William James College, who died in the spring of 2002 after collapsing during the Boston Marathon. The Center sponsors events, lectures and scholarships in Dr. Lucero's memory. An article in the March/April 2019 edition of the Center for Multicultural and Global Mental Health (CMGMH) newsletter introduced the newest Lucero Scholar, Karina Fundora, and is reprinted here: 

Karina Fundora is a first-year student in the Clinical Psychology (PsyD) Program at William James College. She was born and raised in Miami, Florida to two Cuban immigrant parents. She recently graduated from the University of Florida, where she majored in Sociology. At the University of Florida, she was a member of a community service organization where she volunteered with minority children in Gainesville, Florida. She was also a Research Assistant at the Cognition and Aging Lab, where she later became the Bilingual Lab Manager.

Through her involvement in community service activities, research and coursework, she became interested in working with underserved populations, specifically Latino children. Karina stated, “It was apparent to me [that there was a tremendous] need for culturally competent clinicians who could not only speak the language, but understand the cultural and social contexts in which these children and families live.” 

When asked why she chose to complete her graduate studies at William James College, Karina explained:

“I was immediately intrigued by the Latino Mental Health Program (LMHP) as well as the concentration in Children and Families of Adversity and Resilience (CFAR). After speaking with Dr. Mari Carmen Bennasar [LMHP Director], she encouraged me to apply for the Lucero scholarship. When I had the honor of being awarded this scholarship, little did I know that I would gain so much more from being a Lucero scholar. Since I joined the PsyD Program, I have had the privilege to work directly with Dr. Bennasar. I and am forever grateful for her mentorship, compassion, and charm that reminds me so much of home. I have also had the opportunity to work with her on a research project in collaboration with psychologists in Guayaquil, Ecuador. In the summer of 2019, I will be traveling to Ecuador through one of the summer immersion programs offered at William James College. I am extremely humbled and grateful to be a Lucero scholar and for the all the opportunities that it has given me.” 

The William James College community welcomes Karina Fundora, our newest Lucero Scholar!