Advancing Hispanic and Latino/a Student Success in the Health Sciences: ACCESS Grant Assistant Project Director Tatiana Pineiro '20, M.S. '22

Taitana headshot



My path at Mercy College began in January 2019, when I was afforded the opportunity to return to school after 10 years to finish my undergraduate studies. After graduating Summa Cum Laude with my bachelor’s in psychology, I entered the master’s in psychology program where I was awarded the Student Excellence Award for my work in the program’s research sequence and graduated with distinction in May 2022. For the past seven months, I have been working as the assistant project director on the Title V DHSI grant: Advancing Curricular Change to Enhance Student Success (ACCESS).

Prior to this position, I worked as a Mercy College PACT counselor. While I was a student at Mercy College, I worked as a research assistant on several grant-funded, faculty led projects, as a peer mentor, and as a peer leader in Statistics, through the Team STEM Peer-Led Team Learning (PLTL) Grant.

I was a non-traditional, first-generation, low-income, Latina student, who embodied many of the attributes of the students currently served through the ACCESS grant. The ACCESS grant is a $3 million Department of Education (DOE), Developing Hispanic Serving Institutions (DHSI) Title V grant awarded to Mercy College in 2020 to help Hispanic and low-income students succeed in the health and natural sciences. The ACCESS grant has the following goals: to help improve outcomes in Anatomy and Physiology I – a gateway course for health sciences majors, and to fill the region’s pressing need for more nurses by establishing a weekend Accelerated Second Degree Nursing (ASDBS) program.

I was raised to believe that getting an education would enable my family to progress and succeed in the United States. My life experience - growing up in relative poverty, in a multigenerational, single-parent, immigrant home - required me to play many roles, take on many responsibilities, and make sacrifices to help my family. These experiences shaped me to be resilient, creative and resourceful - characteristics that led me to excel in my academic, professional, and personal life, and embody what it means to be a Mercy Maverick.

When I was afforded the opportunity to return to school to finish my undergraduate studies, I returned with a passion to succeed. As a student at Mercy College, I experienced firsthand what it meant to attend a Hispanic-Serving Institution and to benefit from the resources and supports offered to students. I leveraged every opportunity I could to build relationships with my fellow classmates and professors. I gained some wonderful mentors, some of whom were Latina. By immersing myself in these experiences at Mercy College, I began to see and accept a new part of my identity, one that was more confident and capable.

I will forever be grateful for the opportunities I have had at Mercy College. It is one of my greatest pleasures to give back to Mercy College students and those we serve through the ACCESS grant. It is my hope that their dreams can also become their realities. 

- Tatiana Pineiro '20, M.S. '22, Mercy College ACCESS Grant Assistant Project Director