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Davila Recognized for Cancer Research

Marco Davila never thought it would be possible to achieve his dream of developing new therapies for patients with terminal cancer, but his dream is now a reality. He was just recognized for remarkable contributions to his field by the Council for Opportunity in Education, one of five selected as 2016 National TRIO Achievers.

Davila grew up in Texas barrios, his parents speaking only Spanish. His family couldn’t afford tuition but he worked hard to earn scholarships and apply to TCU. When he was admitted, he became the first in his family to attend a 4-year college. Davila is now an Associate Member of the Department of Blood and Marrow Transplantation at H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center and Research Institute, and Associate Professor in the Department of Oncologic Sciences at the Morsani College of Medicine, University of South Florida. He says he is humbled by his part in the research that will lead to a once deadly form of acute leukemia becoming routinely curable.

“Statistics would tell you I should have flunked out of college and subsequently spent the next few decades of my life struggling to find and keep work,” Davila said. “I am extremely grateful for the support of the TRIO programs and demonstrate my gratitude by training the next-generation of scientists.

Davila graduated from TCU with a BS in Biology/Chemistry in 1995, and says he excelled in school because of the Ronald E. McNair Program at TCU, housed under the College of Education. He received assistance preparing for standardized exams; tutoring to help bridge educational gaps from attending multiple high schools; mentorship through graduate and medical school applications; and funding for his research.

The award Davila received is named for the federal TRIO college access and support programs that have helped low-income, first-generation students and students with disabilities succeed in college for more than 50 years.

“These Americans came from humble beginnings and have gone on to lead successful and often inspiring lives and are examples to which we can all aspire,” said Maureen Hoyler, president, Council for Opportunity in Education. “It is always an honor to acknowledge former TRIO students who have made a difference by their outstanding contributions to our country’s progress.”

Congratulations to all other 2016 National TRIO Achievers:

  • José Cruz, Executive Director of the Barrio Logan College Institute and an alumnus of the McNair Scholars Program at San Diego State University;
  • Jacquelyn Elliott, President of Central Arizona College and alumna of the Upward Bound program at Emporia State University;
  • Harry Lee Williams, President of Delaware State University and alumnus of the Student Support Services program at Appalachian State University; and
  • Victor Woolridge, Chairman of the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees, Vice President of Cornerstone Real Estate, and alumnus of the Upward Bound program at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst.