Why did you choose to attend Pace, and to pursue a major in Forensic Science?
I chose Pace because the Forensic Science major is very unique as compared to other programs, and there is a great success rate in job placements for graduates. Forensic Science is solely based on facts and data collected during investigations, and as someone who values justice in our society, I wanted to contribute in the best way I knew how, which is the scientific approach. This major combines science and criminal justice, which made it an easy choice for me.
Tell us about your background, and what motivates you.
I am a first-generation college student. Growing up, I saw my parents, two immigrants from Mexico, work extremely hard to raise my younger brother and I, while also trying to make ends meet. My mom and dad have always supported me and my education, often putting aside their own needs to make sure our wellbeing came first. If it weren't for them, I wouldn't be here right now. One of my dreams, and an early promise of mine, has been to buy my parents a home, so I am here not only for myself, but for my family, too.
Have you had any internships or been engaged in any activities on campus?
In Summer 2020, I was part of the CUNY Summer Undergraduate Research Program, which I discovered at Pace, and was supported to enter. My role involved joining Dr. Brian Giebel, a researcher for the Advanced Science Research Center, in a 10-week research project entitled “Visualizing Water Pollution and Quality in NYC using QGIS.” Our main task was to use geospatial water quality data and interpolate the data onto a map of New York City. This allowed us to visualize areas with higher levels of contaminated water compared to the rest of the city.
On campus, I am both a Chemistry 111 peer leader and a student lab tech. Being a peer leader is such a great role to have, because I can help others that are just starting out in the major become adjusted to the workload, and also learn and grow. As a lab tech, I assist professors with their lab classes, and use what I learn in the classroom in a real job setting. Both are very rewarding.
In addition, I have also been doing research. This year, I received the Office of the Provost’s Student-Faculty Undergraduate Research Award, for an exciting project with Professor Eric Chang and a graduate student entitled “Paving a New Way for Treating an Old Disease – Characterizing the Mobile Loop Region of Lactate Dehydrogenase from P. falciparum.”
I wanted to contribute in the best way I knew how, which is the scientific approach.
What would you like to do upon graduation/what are your career goals?
After graduation, I plan to stay at Pace and obtain my Master of Science in Forensic Science. After that, I would like to pursue a PhD, possibly in Toxicology, which is largely due to my newfound love of research. Thanks to Pace and its professors, I was able to grow and learn new things about myself and adjust my career goals accordingly.
What advice, if any, would you like to give to our current students?
A lot of students are afraid to get involved and talk to their professors. I was one of those students at first, but I learned very quickly that our professors want what is best for us. In fact, talking to my professors landed me a job, research opportunities, internships, and so much more!