During my childhood, my family struggled to afford the costs of managing chronic health issues. This made clear to me that poor health and other difficult life experiences are often intertwined. At Pomona College, I majored in chemistry and started to dream of becoming a physician-scientist in order to study, and then reverse, biochemical processes that translate adverse life circumstances into poor long-term health. My passion for biochemistry grew over four years in the Sazinsky lab, where I discovered the crystal structure of an enzyme that could make better nutrition available to many more people. Also, with Dr. Calderón-Villarreal of COLEF in Tijuana, Mexico, I developed a research project that uses chemistry and anthropology to investigate environmental causes of health problems in a population experiencing homelessness. As a PhD student in the Reik and Balasubramanian labs, I will study epigenetic molecular mechanisms in embryonic development, which could provide insight into various chronic diseases and cancers that disproportionately affect vulnerable populations. I am honored to join the Gates-Cambridge community and will pay the opportunity forward by mentoring students seeking to connect social justice with the sciences.
Pomona College Chemistry 2020