Our Student Spotlight allows the opportunity for you to get to know our students a little better in their own words. More information about Student Life at UCLA and in the surrounding Los Angeles area can be found at our Student Life website. Check back regularly to read about the differing backgrounds and perspectives that make up our GPB Bruin community.
Cell & Developmental Biology
Bridge to the Doctorate, NSF Graduate Research Fellowship, Ford Fellowship
Where is your hometown?
I am from Fremont, California (Bay Area). I’ve spent all of my life (until graduate school) in Northern California.
Where did you attend for undergraduate?
I went to San Francisco State University for my undergraduate degree in Cell and Molecular Biology. I graduated in 2014.
What led you to pursue research training in graduate school?
My introductory biology professor mentioned a program called MARC (Minority Access to Research Careers) in the biology department that allowed minority students such as myself to have a research project in one of the many labs at SFSU. I had the privilege of conducting research in the lab of Dr. Laura Burrus for 3 years, where I studied signaling pathways in the developing chick embryo. This research opportunity allowed me to appreciate the sense of curiosity that drives science in addition to the hard work that goes into making a project to then publishing a paper.
Who is your mentor? Which lab do you currently work in?
My mentor is Dr. Bill Lowry. While the Lowry lab will be my primary lab, my main project will significantly involve the Gomperts, Graeber, Coller, Teitell, and Witte labs.
What are your research interests?
I am very interested in stem cell and regenerative medicine. At the same time, I am also interested in cancer because cancer and stem cell biology are two sides of the same coin.
What are your future goals?
I am interested in biotechnology that focuses on 3D printing organs. However, I also like participating in outreach and implementing programs that allow women and minorities to excel in STEM fields. I do not know if I will pursue academic or industry at the moment, but I am hoping that there will be plenty of opportunities during my time at UCLA to learn about more ways to make a scientific impact.
Why did you choose UCLA?
I genuinely felt I would get the same level attention and support here at UCLA that I fortunately received during my undergraduate education. The professors and the department are dedicated to their graduate students fulfilling their potential to produce good science. I can confidently say that I still feel this way!!
What are your interests and hobbies other than research?
In my free time, I enjoying cooking, biking, and playing dodgeball. I also enjoy exploring new parts of LA, especially new restaurants.
What do you like best about UCLA?
I am always inspired by the sense of community at UCLA — whether it is among researchers, students, professors — I am very grateful to be in an environment that recognizes the importance of learning and support!!