Kathy Franco Torres

Kathy Franco Torres plans to attend medical school and become a neurosurgeon after graduating from Iowa State. When she isn’t studying, Kathy enjoys cooking, baking, and tutoring.

Get to know Kathy

  • Major: Nutritional science, pre-health professional and research option 
  • Class: Senior
  • Hometown: Caguas, Puerto Rico
  • Career goal: Pediatric oncologist neurosurgeon 
  • Clubs/activities: Pre-Medical Club, CHS Ambassador, Language Partner Exchange Program, chemistry and math tutor
  • Awards/honors: Kappa Omicron Nu Honor Society, Phi Upsilon Omicron Honor Society  
  • Favorite place on campus: Periodicals Room, Parks Library
  • Most influential ISU mentor: Rose Martin and Phoebe Wagner
  • Favorite class: FS HN 360, Advanced Nutrition and the Regulation of Metabolism
  • Why Iowa State: Best nutritional science program, great prep for medical school, Latinx community

Kathy Franco Torres fuels medical career with nutritional science major

Moving from Puerto Rice to come to college at Iowa State University, Kathy Franco Torres has had to do a lot of adjusting – but her new home has brought her closer to realizing her goal of becoming a neurosurgeon.

Originally a chemistry major at the University of Puerto Rico, Kathy transferred to Iowa State and is now a senior in nutritional science with the pre-health professional and research option. Moving to the states was exciting for Kathy, but switching from speaking Spanish to English was difficult.

“I think the hardest part [of moving] was the change in language,” Kathy said. “Knowing what to say in English, listening to the professors, and even taking exams in English.”

Upon arriving at Iowa State, Kathy wanted to apply her chemistry skills to the food industry as a food science major, but switched to nutritional science once she started her classwork.

“One month after starting in the [nutrition] classes, I fell in love,” Kathy said. “I had to switch majors.”

Nutrition is important to Kathy. Understanding the impact that food has on all different parts of the body is key to preventing illness and staying healthy, she said.

“If you modify what you eat and combine all the nutrition aspects, you can reduce the risk for any disease,” she said.

Kathy’s dream is to become a pediatric oncologist neurosurgeon — a surgeon who specializes in taking care of children with brain cancer.

In 10 years, Kathy expects this dream will become a reality. She doesn’t despair at the thought of years in school. Kathy loves learning and looks forward to taking care of children and representing the Latinx community.

“I always liked the brain part and the cancer aspect [of being a doctor],” Kathy said. “I was like, ‘I can combine the two and really help people.’ There aren’t a lot of Latino doctors in those areas. I could be one of the first.”

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