My first research experience took place from the Fall 2012 – Summer 2013 in a neurobiology laboratory (Dr. Daniel Plas) focused on Parkinson’s Disease. In this project an undergrad student and I were tasked with optimizing a cellular medium for neural growth of the model organism Lymnaea stagnalis. This was comprised of following established protocols and altering certain variables within the formulas (differing concentrations of ions, pH, et al.) to observe growth pattern differences in vitro.
During the summer of 2013 I began a project with my Physics Department in the field of nuclear science under the guidance of Dr. Mohammad Hannan. The project, an analysis of samples from a ...view middle of the document...
This project involves the use of computational methods to quantify enzyme expression through Densitometry. Also during the fall of 2013, I have started working on an independent research project under Dr. Hannan aimed at characterizing the neutron flux values for the UTPA nuclear facility by NAA. Work in this project involves both theoretical and experimental aspects and rely heavily on specialized software packages. Experimental work includes activation of samples, gamma spectroscopy and neutron spectrum unfolding while theoretical work involves calculations in Monte Carlo N-Particle code.
Medicine has long been a passion of mine. Initially however, my awareness of a career in medicine was confined to clinical settings. To get closer to the field, I achieved national certification as an EMT-B and began volunteering weeknights with a local emergency medical service. Over time I found that it was not the trauma based emergencies that had the most profound impact on me, but instead my observations of medical complications stemming from diseases such as cancer, diabetes, and Alzheimer’s. Although there is a seemingly infinite supply of knowledge in the world, there is still an enormous amount of uncertainty in the prevention, treatment, and causes of these diseases. It was this realization that first got me thinking about the prospects of a career as a scientist. The idea of becoming an individual that could contribute to discoveries in disease pathology quickly became a major interest of mine. It was these series of events that led to my participation in research. My involvement as an EMT has allowed me to experience the importance of teamwork while my current research positions have given me an opportunity to use my own problem solving abilities to construct solutions and experimental designs. Through these commitments I am continuously inspired by colleagues and mentors alike to achieve my aspiration of a career in science.
I am currently president of the UTPA Society of Physics Students. My duties include planning, coordinating, and ensuring the execution of initiatives to educate the community on physics via outreach programs, and helping our members benefit from scientific research and conferences. This position contributes to my ability to correspond with others and exhibits my decisive capabilities, two traits that I believe would be imperative for a career in science.
Stemming from a multicultural background (Hispanic/Asian), I find myself intrigued by learning experiences that broaden my view of the world. As a pastime, I enjoy educating myself about different cultures and languages. Though Spanish and English are the two dialects I am most familiar with, I am also proficient in the French, Bengali, and Arabic languages. I believe my exposure to two radically different cultures during my childhood has prompted me to view research as an experience less fixed on absolutes, and more concerned with the blending of...