Valeria Martinez-Kaigi

Valeria Martinez-Kaigi

Valeria Martinez-Kagi

Power Words

Vive a La Altura de Tu Potencial, !Si Se Puede!
Live Up to Your Potential, Yes You Can!

Where were you born? 

Albuquerque, New Mexico

What school did you attend? 

University of New Mexico-B.S., University of Nevada Las Vegas-M.S., University of North Texas-PhD in progress

What gained your interest in the NIH? 

I was accepted into the NIMH Career Opportunities in Research (NIMH-COR) Honors Undergraduate Research Training Program while an undergraduate student at the University of New Mexico. I earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology and conducted my undergraduate honors thesis at the NIMH investigating the neuropsychological functioning in patient’s diagnosed with major depressive disorder. Then I went on to earn a master’s of science degree in psychomotor kinesiology at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. During my master’s degree I was awarded a National Institutes of Health (NIH) Intramural Research Training Award and conducted my thesis at the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke investigating the psychopathology of psychogenic movement disorders.

What kind of work do you do at the NIH? 

Presently, I am a doctoral candidate in the Clinical Health Psychology and Behavioral Medicine program at the University of North Texas and an NIMH predoctoral fellow at the NIH main campus. As part of the NIH Individual Graduate Partnerships Program, I was awarded a fellowship to conduct my dissertation research at the NIMH. My current research investigates the neurobiology of fatigue. I am also developing the first clinician-administered inventory that assesses fatigue across patient populations.

What message would you like to send to young Hispanics who are considering going to college? 

Sometimes it is difficult to have the confidence and self-efficacy to pursue a higher education when the individuals in your family and community have limited educational experiences. However, it is vital that our Latino youth live up to their potential and explore their gifts and abilities via a formal higher education. I went from being a clerical assistant in a medical provider’s office to being a medical provider. Earning a PhD and becoming a scientist was never even a farfetched thought in my mind during my youth, not only because of my ethnicity but also my gender. Having the opportunity to learn about science on the NIH campus during the infancy of my college career allowed me to develop and hone in on my intellectual capabilities. Do not miss out on living up to your potential! ¡Sí, se puede!