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Program of Emphasis: Biochemistry
Hometown: Miami, FL
High School: South Miami Sr High School
Why I chose to attend Juniata: I never thought about going to a small college out in the middle of nowhere. I decided to apply because my high school CAP advisor saw that it was a college with a high acceptance rate into medical school. She told me to further look into it, and I did. After receiving my acceptance letter, I was not convinced that I wanted to go. I had the option of a fully paid four year scholarship at another college. However, Juniata sent me a hand-written birthday card that arrived on the day of my birthday. This card made all the difference. At that moment I knew that any college that would take the time to personally write me a birthday card was the college I wished to attend. I was not able to go and visit because I could not afford it financially but I did not need to. To be completely honest, I did not even look at pictures of the Juniata campus before I accepted. I am glad that I accepted, I could not picture myself anywhere else.
Clubs and Organizations: I have been a member of HOSA (freshman year), Spanish Club (member), and ASBMB (vice president).
Internship: Last summer (2013), I was fortunate to be selected into the SURF program at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, Texas. It was an incredible experience! I was working in Dr. Yu's lab under the guidance of Julia Zhu. I was studying the specificity of a gene deletion to a glia cell. I was also testing other genes that my mentor and I believed might be regulated due to the gene deletion using qPCR. In addition, I learned how to do the following experiments on my own: mouse handling, DNA gel electrophoresis, PCR, Perfusion, RNA extraction, RT-qPCR, and western blots.
Research Participation: Transcriptional changes in cKO mice Juniata College is collaborating with UT Southwestern Medical Center in an ongoing research project that I was a part of last summer (2013). In the summer, I confirmed the specificity of the gene deletion to a specific type of glia cell (brain cells). Currently, I will be receiving RNAseq data from UT Southwestern Medical Center and will use Galaxy for bioinformatics analysis.
Most Interesting Class: My most interesting class is my research class (if that counts as a class) because I am doing what I love. Being in the lab motivates me to continue studying. I love doing wet-lab experiments and I even enjoy searching the literature because I know that both of these aspects will help me obtain and understand my results.
Favorite Faculty Member: Juniata College has made a wise decision in selecting Dr. Daniel Dries as the new biochemistry professor. Dr. Dries has helped me become a scientist not just a student who studies science. He has helped me learn to think things through and understand why things happen they way they do. I am glad that Dr. Dries is not only my professor but my research advisor as well. He takes the time to discuss my possible graduate school options. These meetings have helped me make my final decision on my next steps towards my career.
Honors Received: I have been inducted in HOSA, though I am not on a pre-med track.
For the past four years I have been extremely thankful for receiving this scholarship. Without this scholarship and my academic scholarship, I know that I would not be sitting here today writing this thank you note. I have loved every moment I have spent at Juniata College. I have grown as an individual. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to study in a different state. I have learned about different cultures (foods, fashion, and even language) and immersed myself with a different type of friend group that I thought I would never be a part of. Being at Juniata I gained more knowledge not only within my field but about life as well. Again, thank you.
Class of 2014