Graduate Ambassador at Cornell University
Hometown: Ithaca, NY
Graduate Program: Biochemistry, Molecular & Cellular Biology (BMCB), PhD
Anticipated Graduation Date: 2020
Institution: California State University of San Marcos
As a female first-generation Mexican-American from San Diego, California, I would have never imagined completing a graduate degree from the Biochemistry and Molecular, Cellular Biology program from Cornell University. As a first-generation college student, whom did not have a support system that knew what a graduate life entailed, I had to build a new scientific networking family at Cornell. Through Cornell University’s Office of Academic Diversity Initiative and the Office of inclusion and student engagement, I was able to find and receive support from people whom had similar experiences like mine in being the first one of their families to attend college. In daily life, I value research as a fundamental aspect of learning, overcoming hurdles, and facing new challenges and a rewarding aspect in science.
I chose Cornell because of its small college town nature and supportive research environment.
At Cornell, I am a PhD candidate in Dr. Nicholson’s Laboratory studying a cis-trans prolyl peptide bond isomerization (PPIase)found in Oryza sativa (Asian rice). Auxin, the hormone regulates the expression of Aux/IAA transcription repressor protein. Overall, I am studying this auxin circuit, which enables relationships between the Auxin proteins and PPIase to be used as a timing device for lateral root development to be established in rice.
I have thoroughly enjoyed my experience at Cornell. I have not only grown in my research skills but I have gained valuable life skills to further my career.
My advice for those exploring graduate school is to look at these three areas: location, research/mentoring, and community. Graduate school is challenging therefore you want a comfortable and supporting environment based on your personality.