Why UC Merced?
I wanted to be a part of a UC program because I have wanted to pursue a career in research and STEM. Furthermore, when looking into schools, I have been told by my advisors in high school that UC Merced would be a great option because there would be more available labs to work in. I also enjoyed how the school was part of a rural community, which allowed me to not only expand my worldview but create a space for myself to thrive.
Why Your Major?
I originally came to campus as a Human Biology major but realized that I love the math aspect of STEM and decided to pursue Bioengineering. I want to help develop new machinery for diagnostics and therapy in the medical field, especially for patients with psychiatric and neurological disorders, and I found that the Bioengineering major was able to give me insight into this type of research.
Inspiration and Mentors
My main inspiration has been my family and my significant other, who have instilled in me to always become a better version of myself and to strive to use my abilities to help others whenever I can. I am also grateful for my peers and faculty on which I could rely for professional and personal growth, especially professors such as Dr. Victor Muñoz, Dr. Changqing Li, and Dr. Patricia LiWang, and a graduate student, Jesse Rodriguez Reyes, who have been large influences on my path in research and academia.
Memorable Academic Experience
Unfortunately, a good chunk of my academic career at UC Merced has been online, but this past year, I have been most grateful for the hands-on experience I have obtained from working in the Muñoz Lab. Also, working as a tutor for the SALA Program and STEM Tutoring Hub has been a rewarding experience as I am able to provide knowledge and interest in learning for my students.
After graduating, I will be taking a gap year to pursue research in Protein Engineering in Dr. Muñoz’s lab and continue learning about Bioimaging techniques in Dr. Li’s Lab on campus while looking into other opportunities at other campuses. Afterward, I will be applying for graduate schools for Bioengineering in the field of Biotech.
To anyone interested in the Engineering program, or any program for that matter, I would advise working on time management and always taking everything as a learning experience and an opportunity to grow. You can only take as much as you give, and that includes your time and energy.