How has mentorship helped you get to where you are today?
I’ve had a really exciting journey so far, and I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunities UCSB has given me. I’m really fortunate for all of the wonderful people who have impacted me. I don’t think I could have made it this far without the help and support I’ve received from so many awesome people! Even prior to attending UCSB, I was getting academic prep, mentorship, and a taste of research from the Summer Institute in Mathematics and Science (SIMS).
Tell us more about your experience in the SIMS program.
A two-week intensive STEM program, SIMS really gave me a headstart at UCSB and showed me that research was what I wanted to do. More than that, the friendships and connections I made through SIMS have been powerful! After learning so much about research through SIMS as well as many research internships and programs, I applied for and was accepted to the UC Leadership Excellence through Advanced Degrees (UC LEADS) program.
What about your experience with the UC LEADS program?
Originally hosted under CSEP, the program has since been hosted by Graduate Division. UC LEADS granted me two years of undergraduate research experience, including two summers: one at UCSB and one at a UC of my choice (I chose UC Riverside). At UCSB I have been privileged to work with the amazing Moskovits group in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, under the mentorship of the outstanding Jose Navarrete! Our research has entailed the fabrication and testing of transistors with nanostructured features for the study of nanoscale processes
How did you hear about these programs?
SACNAS! SACNAS (or the Society for the Advancement of Chicanx, Latinx, and Native Americans in Science) is a national organization that promotes and supports historically underrepresented ethnic minorities as well as low-income and first-generation college students in their pursuit of STEM careers. SACNAS is a really great network of individuals and I was incredibly happy to be welcomed into the SACNAS chapter at UCSB. In fact, it was my attendance at the UCSB SACNAS annual high school outreach that got me excited about attending UCSB and taught me a lot about the opportunities on campus. When I came to UCSB, I quickly got involved and it really helped me out at UCSB both in my development as a professional but also in finding community within STEM.
It was also SACNAS that spurred my interest in supporting diversity within STEM, particularly the LGBTQ community. Hoping to have a similar impact on the LGBTQ community at UCSB, a friend (Mel Kanne, who I met through SIMS!) and I founded an oSTEM Chapter at UCSB. oSTEM, or out in STEM, is a national organization that supports LGBTQ diversity and representation in STEM. I am very proud of what our chapter has done in its first three years and excited for what is to come!