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Center for Access to Science for All

The Bulldogs Involved in Tobacco Endgame Research (BITER)

The BITER program provides research opportunities for students from all majors who are passionate about investigating tobacco-control issues with a specific focus on Latino/a/x individuals and communities. Gain practical experience through hands-on work with a local health promotion organization, scholarly research, involvement in community advocacy events, and participation in professional development activities through the BITER program. 

The Bulldogs Involved in Tobacco Endgame Research (BITER) program came to be through a 1.2 million dollar grant from the University of California Office of the President (UCOP), The Fresno State's Immigrant Families' Acculturative and Environmental Settings (IFACES) Laboratory, the Center for Access to Science for All (CASA), UC Merced's Nicotine & Cannabis Policy Center (NCPC) and the Latino Coordinating Center (LCC) have all joined forces to train a cohort of scholars at Fresno State on tobacco-control related issues with a focus on Latino/a/x individuals and communities. 



A range of curricular, research and co-curricular activities are planned to train and provide financial support for four undergraduate and one graduate Fresno State student each year.


Meet the People Behind BITER

 Rosa I. ToroDr. Rosa Toro was born and raised in the San Fernando Valley of Southern California, is the daughter of Mexican immigrants, and a first-generation college student.  She earned my B.A. in Psychology from the University of Southern California (USC), where she majored in Psychology and was a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and carried out a study examining young Latinx children's emerging literacy skills in Spanish and its association with their English emerging literacy skills. Afterward, she attended the University of California, Riverside where she earned an M.A. and Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology. Thereafter, she completed a postdoctoral; fellowship funded by the Mac Arthur Foundation and focused on examining how housing matters for young children. In this position, she developed and piloted a daily diary study that focused on how housing crowding and quality impact young children's household routines and developmentally stimulating activities in the home.

She began her academic career at CSU, Fresno (Fresno State) in 2013 and is an Associate Professor of Psychology and the coordinator for the M.A. in General/Experimental Psychology. At Fresno State, she does research focused on highlighting the strengths of Latinx immigrant youth, young adults, and families to promote well-being.  Some areas of research interest include the acculturation gap, filial responsibilities among Latinx children, the college-going experience for Latinx college students, and she is preparing for the launch of a daily diary study examining the daily lived experience of Latinx college students as they navigate the college and home settings. She has been awarded several federal and institutional grants to support her work which have involved many student researchers throughout the years. 

As a member of the faculty, she is actively involved in research and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students. As a mother, she is deeply passionate about the children of the Central Valley and has been part of various community organizations and, most recently, is a member of the Fresno County League of Mexican American Women.

Rosendo IniguezRosendo Iniguez MPH is the Project Director of the Latino Coordinating Center for a Tobacco-Free California (LCC) within the California Health Collaborative. Rosendo has worked in tobacco control for more than five years and has prior experience working with the Latino community, providing diabetes prevention and management education. Rosendo received his Bachelor of Science in Health Science (Community Health Option) and his Master's in Public Health (Health Promotion Option) from Fresno State, which he currently serves as Adjunct Faculty within the Public Health Department.

SARA SCHNEIDER, Ph.D.Dr. Sara Schneider is a postdoctoral scholar for the Nicotine and Cannabis Policy Center (NCPC) at the University of California, Merced, with a Ph.D. in Cognitive and Information Sciences. Her research interests and goals center around using a community-engaged approach to (1) help school districts in underserved like the San Joaquin Valley access the resources needed to provide tobacco prevention education to youth in schools, (2) work to eliminate tobacco-related, structural, and social disparities in the region, and (3) encourage San Joaquin Valley youth and young adults to take action to become involved with local tobacco control initiatives.

ARTURO DURAZO, PH.D.Dr. Arturo Durazo is the Interim Director of the Nicotine and Cannabis Policy Center and
a Community-Engaged Health Scientist at the University of California, Merced’s Health
Sciences Research Institute. His research program advances cancer and tobacco
control and health equity by the co-creation of evidence aimed at decreasing
preventable cancers and communicable diseases (e.g., COVID-19, HIV) with community
partners. His work focuses on factors that promote well-being in marginalized, under-
resourced racial/ethnic communities who disproportionately bear the brunt of illness in

Dr. Durazo has over 20 years of experience participating in team science and multi-site
research. He also has contributed as a community-based stakeholder and patient
advocate focusing on graphically displaying patient-reported outcomes data,
assessment of health behaviors among California’s priority groups, and community-
engaged approaches to scaling up interventions in Hispanic/Latinx communities. Dr.
Durazo plans to focus on achieving health equity through engaging community partners
in the creation of scientific evidence aimed at the San Joaquin Valley, including the local
Sierra Nevada foothills.

Lilia De La CerdaLilia De La Cerda, MPH serves as the Fresno State Director for Center for Access to Science for All (CASA) which serves as a home to multiple university and grant-funded programs.  The Center provides a supportive environment and resources for students interested in targeted health professions and/or science, technology, engineering and mathematics careers. Programs housed under the Center include the Health Careers Opportunity Program (HCOP), Health Professions Pathways Program (HPPP), NSF and CSU Chancellor-funded Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (CSU-LSAMP), NIH Bridge to Doctorate, NIH Research Training Initiative for Scientific Enhancement, and most recently the Bulldogs Involved in Tobacco Endgame Research (BITER).  As a daughter of immigrant farm-working parents and proud two-time Fresno State alumna, Lilia has focused her career over the past 25 years on supporting disadvantaged students in pursuing health professional and STEM-focused careers.