Graduate Ambassador at Cornell University
Hometown: Oxnard, CA
Graduate Program: Plant Biology
Anticipated Graduation Date: 2022
Institution: University of California, Santa Barbara
Major: Biological Sciences
My career in research began in ethnobotany at the UCSB Religious Studies Dept. where I explored how the Apache peoples use cattail pollen in religious ceremony. I then focused on the population biology and ecology of California native plants as a Conservation Technician at the Santa Barbara Botanic Garden. My love for understanding threatened and endangered plants led me to my current population genetics research as a PhD Student at Cornell.
It was clear to me that Cornell would provide opportunities for my growth as a researcher and as an academic interested in diversifying STEM. The community also felt so interconnected and friendly.
I'm interested in landscape genetics, or how the landscape shapes population dynamics, and how polymorphic species diversify across space.
Cornell has superseded my expectations for student support. I feel that the strong community among graduate students and support from the graduate school has helped me endure both common struggles in academia and obstacles unique to my background as a first generation, low-income, woman of color.
A good relationship with your advisor is key to navigating and succeeding in graduate school. I think it's important to have an open conversation about your expectations and to have a clear understanding of your advisor's expectations and mentorship style (where in the spectrum of total hands off vs. micromanaging) before choosing a school. I would prioritize choosing an advisor who I click with above choosing a school as a whole. If you're looking to join a program instead of applying to a specific lab from the beginning, ask current graduate students about the program and campus climate.