Namoonga Mantina, a research program administrator in the Office of Community Outreach and Engagement at the University of Arizona Cancer Center, was recognized with a 2022 40 Under 40 Award, presented by the law offices of Snell & Wilmer with the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Arizona Daily Star.
Mantina was one of 40 Tucsonans under the age of 40 – including two from UArizona Health Sciences – recognized as “movers and shakers” for their demonstrated leadership and community impact.
“It is a tremendous and humbling honor to be a recipient of the 40 Under 40 Award. The recognition bestows a sense of trust and responsibility to the Tucson community — one I have been in for a few years,” said Mantina. “To have my potential and impact be seen and recognized is empowering and motivating for me to continue doing the work that I do.”
Mantina, who is originally from Zambia, came to the UArizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health for the Master of Science in Public Health and Doctorate in Health Behavior Health Promotion Science programs in 2019 and then concurrently earned her MBA from the Eller College of Management. She completed her MSPH in 2021 and her MBA in 2022. She plans to complete her PhD in 2024.
“Namoonga is an outstanding emerging leader with whom I have had the pleasure of mentoring and collaborating with over the last four years,” said Kelly Palmer, PhD, MHS, CCRP, an assistant professor in the Zuckerman College of Public Health. “Namoonga is one of the most driven and tenacious people I know. She remains unwaveringly committed to the people and causes she cares for, a true servant leader. I can't think of anyone else more deserving of this honor than her.”
In her role at the Cancer Center, Mantina oversees an assessment team administering community surveys in the five counties in southern Arizona. The Community Assessment of Southern Arizona survey aims to better understand the community’s cancer knowledge, attitudes, information sources and experiences with cancer. Another assessment is the Research Outreach of Southern Arizona survey, which is aimed at understanding the Hispanic community’s knowledge and willingness to engage in cancer biology and basic science research.
“The University of Arizona Cancer Center has been instrumental in shaping how I leverage the diverse skillset I have as a researcher and leader,” Mantina said. “The work I engage in not only utilizes the research training from my masters and doctoral programs, but also engages my management, communication and leadership acumen from my MBA training.”
Mantina said that once she finishes her doctorate, she hopes to pursue a career that allows her to operate at the intersection of health research, community engagement and management.
“Wherever I go, whatever I find myself doing, I just simply care about people — desire to serve and want others to live the best life possible,” Mantina said. “I am where I am today because of all the people who invested their time, faith and resources in me. I may never be able to pay back what has been gifted to me – but I faithfully commit to paying it forward, through academic achievement, being a productive global citizen, serving the needs of the local communities and mentoring the generation coming after me.”