top of page

Team Members

Irina Miralda Molina, PhD

Alumni, Mentor Screener

GSMI, Team Alumni

Irina Miralda Molina, PhD

She/Her/Hers

Originally from Honduras, I earned my PhD in Microbiology and Immunology from the University of Louisville in April 2020. Now, I am a part of Seattle Children's Research Institute as a Postdoctoral Fellow and ready to use my platform to mentor and encourage others to pursue a career in STEM. My research passions lie in studying host-pathogen interactions in the context of innate immunity, specifically from the point of view of neutrophils and mast cells. In my spare time, I enjoy baking and spending time with my Australian shepherd Tula and my collection of 100+ plants and succulents.

Valeria Montserrat Juárez

Alumni, Marketing Officer

GSEC, Team Alumni

Valeria Montserrat Juárez

She/Her/Hers

Valeria is 2nd year PhD student in the joint Emory University and Georgia Institute of Technology Biomedical Engineering program. She is Mexican-American, and was born and raised in the Rio Grande Valley of South Texas. Valeria's research focuses on modelling gut microbiome - lymphoid cell interactions using biomaterials, organoids and microfluidics. In 2020, she was recognized as a National GEM Consortium Associate Fellow. Valeria also graduated with highest honors from the UTSA in 2020, earning her Bachelors of Science in Biomedical Engineering. While at UTSA, she was an NIH MARC U*STAR fellow and a College of Engineering Haliburton Ambassador. Valeria continues to be passionate about mentorship, educational outreach and supporting underrepresented and marginalized students in STEM. She aims to inspire, motivate, and train the next generation of successful scientists and engineers and make academia more diverse, equitable and inclusive for all.

Juliana Laverde-Paz

Alumni, Mentor Screening

GSMI, Team Alumni

Juliana Laverde-Paz

She/Her/Hers

Hello, I was born and raised in Bogota, Colombia - a place I keep near and dear to my heart despite living in Miami, Florida. I have had a long journey to becoming a PhD student at the University of Miami. I earned my bachelor's and my master's in Colombia and came to the United States in 2016.The last 3 years I was able to work as a Research Associate at the University of Miami, opening the door for me to begin my studies towards earning a PhD. I am excited to step into a role where I hope I can help other aspiring scientists connect with their passion, or find it all together.

Angélica Rosado-Quiñones

Alumni, Database Manager

Digital Experience, Team Alumni

Angélica Rosado-Quiñones

She/Her/Hers

I am a PhD Candidate in Biology, focusing in Infectious Diseases and Data Science at the University of Puerto Rico Rio Piedras Campus. Currently, my thesis is oriented towards discovering combinational therapy against multi-drug resistant malaria parasites. In addition, I am a Certified Data Scientist and I enjoy working with Bioinformatics.

Bryan Rubio Perez

Alumni, Community Building Manager

GSEC, Team Alumni

Bryan Rubio Perez

He/Him/His, They/Them/Theirs

Bryan is a third year PhD student at the University of Wisconsin - Madison. His research is in the engineering of plasmonic devices for biosensing. Bryan is interested in making science education at all levels accessible to everyone regardless of race, gender, sexual preferences, or socioeconomic status. As a first generation, low-income, Mexican-American Bryan understands the challenges that historically excluded groups face when pursuing higher education. Through various organizations and independent efforts Bryan has been able to engage with students at all levels by planning seminars, professional development events, community-building events, and STEM educational outreach events for elementary school school-aged students.

Maria Maldonado, PhD

Alumni, Non-Academic Liaison

Team Alumni

Maria Maldonado, PhD

She/Her/Hers

Originally from Argentina, Maria moved abroad, first to England and then to the US, for her undergraduate and graduate studies in biochemistry and molecular cell biology. She is currently a postdoc studying plant respiration using biochemical and structural biology approaches. Between her PhD and postdoc, Maria spent several years working in the consulting and financial industries in the US and Europe focusing on the pharma and biotech sectors.

Diego Alvarado Mateo

Alumni, Assistant Editor at York College, City University of New York

Team Alumni

Diego Alvarado Mateo

Diego is a biologist at York College, City University of New York, and a Spanish speaker from the island of Puerto Rico. Previously, a 2016 CUNY Summer Research Program (CSURP) fellow and a 2017 Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) scholar, where he conducted research in a Behavioral and Molecular Neuroscience at Hunter College. He always felt that exploring and learning go hand in hand. Therefore, he is enthusiastic about being able to help others learn or understand and increase their knowledge of a subject and the STEM community.

Jesus D. Cabrera Rivera

Alumni, Recruitment Team

GSMI, Team Alumni

Jesus D. Cabrera Rivera

He/Him/His

My name is Jesus, an undergraduate student at the City College of New York pursuing a B.S. in Geology. I hope to address environmental issues in my community and pursue graduate school in the same field. Being formerly undocumented has brought me to work closely with my community and provide resources to them. Currently, I'm the Vice President of the CCNY Dream Team Club - a student club for undocumented students and allies. Also, I'm an Assistant for the Educational Opportunities Initiative, giving one-on-one consultations to improve the educational attainment for the immigrant community. And a volunteer for the Bronx River Alliance in their water quality and air quality stewardship programs. With my experiences navigating academia, I hope to continue bridging the educational gap in my community by volunteering with Cientifico Latino.

Kimberly Hernandez Palacios

Alumni, GSEC Executive Co-Director

GSEC, Team Alumni

Kimberly Hernandez Palacios

Kimberly is a PhD student in the Neurobiology and Behavior program at Columbia University where she studies neural circuits underlying social behaviors. She is Mexican-American and was born and raised in southern California. She attended CSU Long Beach and got her start in research as a MARC scholar. After undergrad, she moved to Ann Arbor, MI where she participated in the NIH PREP program for a year before moving to NYC for graduate school. At the start of her PhD, Kimberly was awarded the Ford Foundation Pre-Doctoral Fellowship in 2019. Since her start in research, she has been passionate about helping URM succeed in STEM and has been involved in multiple outreach and diversity initiatives. She plans to continue these efforts with the goal of making diverse and inclusive environments in STEM.

Gwenaëlle Thomas

Alumni, Social Media Team

Digital Experience, Team Alumni

Gwenaëlle Thomas

She/Her/Hers

Gwenaëlle graduated with honors from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in 2016, earning a B.S. in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and a minor in psychology. As an alumna of the Meyerhoff Scholars Program, she has applied the Meyerhoff philosophy and mentorship models to continue increasing access to higher education and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). Currently, she is a neurobiology PhD Candidate at Duke University where she is co-advised by Dr. Kafui Dzirasa, MD, PhD and Dr. Marc Caron, PhD. Her work focuses on the intersection between pharmacology, behavior, and neurophysiology and she hopes her research wilI reform treatment for mental illnesses. As a first generation student and an Afrolatina woman, she is committed to mentoring, amplifying the voices and experiences of marginalized students in STEM, and communicating science to be accessible by all.

Alexis Ceja

Alumni, Data Team Member, GSMI Webinar Team Member

Digital Experience, GSMI, Team Alumni

Alexis Ceja

They/Them/Theirs

Alexis is currently a trainee in the post-baccalaureate program (PROPEL) at the University of California, San Francisco. In the Sexual and Gender Minority Health Equity Lab, they work with Dr. Annesa Flentje investigating the effects of intersectionality on sexual and gender minority (SGM) health disparities and the social-ecological environment as it relates to drug use outcome. Their goal is be admitted into a Clinical Psychology program and continue investigating SGM health disparities. They are passionate about promoting the inclusion of historically marginalized groups in research and higher education. Alexis is excited to continue their involvement in Científico Latino in the efforts to diversify STEM.

Kimberly Leon

Alumni, Data Manager

GSEC

Kimberly Leon

She/Her/Hers

Hello, my name is Kimberly Leon. I am a PhD student in the Cognition and Neural Systems Psychology PhD Program at the University of Arizona. I earned my bachelor's degree in Psychological science at the University of Arizona. My research interest is bilingual language development. I aspire to bring to light the strengths of bilingual children and provide guidance on how to best aid the development of bilingual children. Ultimately, I hope to utilize my research to directly aid and serve bilingual communities.

Bryan Pérez-Soto

Alumni, GSMI Interviewer

GSMI, Team Alumni

Bryan Pérez-Soto

He/Him/His

I was born and raised in Puerto Rico. While majoring in Biology at the University of Puerto Rico at Aguadilla, I found a passion for both research and teaching. My research affinity is towards the biochemical aspect of life, especially in the study of genome/proteome interactions. I am a first-year graduate student at The Ohio State University. Acting advocate for the LGBTQ+ and minority communities. Hobbies include sudokus, sarcasm, and binge-watching Netflix. I cannot wait to give back the help Cientifico Latino offered when I applied to graduate school.

Juan Martín Barajas PhD

Alumni, Academic Representative

GSMI, Team Alumni

Juan Martín Barajas PhD

He/Him/His

I was born in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. My family family immigrated to the United States when he was just a few years old and settled in Colorado. I completed my Bachelor's degree in Biology from Colorado Mesa University and PhD at The Ohio State University College of Medicine. I am currently a postdoctoral fellow at St. Jude Children's Research Hospital where I study the role of genetic variants on stem cell fitness.

José Fabricio López Hernández

Alumni, Moderator/Host, Mock Interview Developer, Assistant Editors

GSMI, Digital Experience, Team Alumni

José Fabricio López Hernández

He/Him/His

My name is José Fabricio López Hernández AKA Fibo. I studied the undergraduate program in Genomic Sciences in Mexico at UNAM and a Master's in Biology at Cinvestav-IPN. Currently, I am a Ph.D. candidate in Zanders Lab at the Stowers Institute for Medical Research. I am interested in how evolution shapes genetics. I study how selfish genetic elements, that act in meiosis, spread in populations.

Benjamin Wang, PhD

Alumni, Digital Experience co-coordinator

Digital Experience, Team Alumni

Benjamin Wang, PhD

He/Him/His

Ben is currently a second-year postdoc in the Microbiology department at Stanford University, where he works in the laboratory of Dr. Denise Monack on the pathogenesis of human-adapted Salmonella. He received his BS from the California Institute of Technology in 2015, and his PhD from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is 2021. As Ben was raised in a first-generation immigrant household, he has witnessed the challenges that minority groups can face in education and beyond. In turn, Ben is passionate about increasing access to science and has participated in multiple STEM-related outreach programs, including the SIMR (Summer Institute of Medical Research) program at Stanford, which pairs underrepresented high school students with host Stanford labs for summer internships. As he continues to embark upon an academic career, Ben looks forward to mentoring future students from underrepresented backgrounds and be a strong advocate for increased representation and equality in science and higher education.

Adriana Schoenhaut

Alumni, GSMI Scholar Interviewer

GSMI, Team Alumni

Adriana Schoenhaut

She/Her/Hers

Adriana is a neuroscience PhD candidate at Vanderbilt University researching the neural correlates of multisensory motion perception in non-human primates. Prior to beginning her doctoral studies in 2019, she earned a B.S. in Brain and Cognitive Sciences at the University of Rochester in 2017 and worked as a research assistant at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston for 2 years. At Vanderbilt, Adriana has previously served as the Outreach Committee Chair for the Vanderbilt Brain Institute and is currently their Curriculum Committee Chair. As a dual citizen of Argentina and the USA, Adriana aims to increase the representation of Latino/a and other URM individuals within STEM by improving access to PhD programs.

Jazmin Emilia Aguilar-Romero

Alumni, Volunteer

Team Alumni

Jazmin Emilia Aguilar-Romero

Jazmin is currently a second-year PhD student in chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign conducting research on acid-degradable, acid-amplifying polymers for biological applications. She is Chicana/Mexican-American, was born and raised in Los Angeles, and moved away from the warm West Coast to do her B.A. in Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Cornell University. While at Cornell, Jazmin became involved in student organizations aiming to build a support network for underrepresented minorities in STEM where she discovered a passion for mentoring and teaching other students. She has continued building on this through mentoring undergraduate students in research, organizing workshops in her SACNAS chapter, and joining the Cientifico Latino team.

Melissa Ramirez, PhD

Alumni, GSMI Community Engagement Coordinator

GSMI, Team Alumni

Melissa Ramirez, PhD

She/Her/Hers

Melissa is a computational and synthetic organic chemist. She was born in Los Angeles, CA and raised in Pasadena, CA as part of a Mexican American family. She is a first-generation college student and obtained her BA in chemistry at the University of Pennsylvania in 2016. Thereafter, Melissa attended the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where she received a PhD in chemistry in 2021. Melissa served as Community Engagement Coordinator for UCLA's Organization for Cultural Diversity in Science and is enthusiastic about continuing to contribute to diversity initiatives in the STEM fields. She was motivated to join the Cientifico Latino team, which she will contribute to while also serving as a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology starting the summer of 2021.

Paola Figueroa-Delgado

Alumni, Webinar Speaker

Digital Experience, Team Alumni

Paola Figueroa-Delgado

Paola is a PhD student in the Department of Cell Biology at Yale University, where she currently studies the neuronal cytoskeleton. She was born and raised in Puerto Rico where she received her Bachelors of Science at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus. During her time as an undergraduate student, she was a NIH BP-ENDURE Fellow and founded the National Neuroscience Student Association. She is a passionate and driven advocate for underrepresented and marginalized individuals in STEM and has continuously mentored and supported them throughout her career. She began mentoring pre-college URM students in the Arecibo Observatory Space Academy program, while as an undergraduate, as a Universities Space Research Association Fellow. Furthermore, she was the Education and Outreach Chair for the International Space Development Conference from 2014 to 2016 and was the organizer of TEDxUPR, among other conferences. She is passionate about making STEM accessible and creating an environment that is diverse, equitable and inclusive to all individuals, specifically those who are historically marginalized. At Yale, she serves as the Yale Biology and Biomedical Sciences Diversity and Inclusion Collective Outreach Branch Leader, Cell Biology Department Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Committee PhD Student Representative, Women in Science at Yale Board Member, among others.

Jasmine McAdams

Alumni, Resource Coordinator

GSMI, Team Alumni

Jasmine McAdams

She/Her/Hers

Jasmine is a MS/PhD student at UC Berkeley’s Energy and Resources Group, with a passion for supporting robust and equitable decision-making in climate and energy. Her research interests include developing a better understanding of how climate change will impact the power system and the cascading effects it will have on communities. Prior to ERG, Jasmine was a Senior Program Officer with the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners where she developed educational programs and resources for state public utility commissions on issues including transportation electrification, energy justice, nuclear energy, and carbon capture. She also has experience working as a consultant for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and as a research technician with the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill. Jasmine holds a bachelor’s degree in geology from Brown University.

Vianna Martinez

Alumni, Data Team

GSMI, Team Alumni

Vianna Martinez

She/Her/Hers

Hello everyone! I was born and raised in the Central Valley of California and graduated with my B.S. in Biology from the University of California, Merced. After a year working in Public Health, I will be an incoming Pathology PhD student at Duke University. As a queer Latina, I have become very passionate about promoting diversity and establishing a welcoming community in STEM.

Valerie Tornini, PhD

Alumni, GSEC Executive Co-Director

GSEC, Team Alumni

Valerie Tornini, PhD

She/Her/Hers

I am currently a postdoctoral researcher at Yale School of Medicine. I am a developmental biologist who investigates how chromatin modifiers and another category of underexplored proteins, called micropeptides, shape the gene networks that specify and specialize vertebrate cells, with implications for the evolution of cell states and developmental disorders. I look forward to establishing my independent research lab as a tenure-track faculty member within the next year. Please visit valerietornini.com for more information!

Lear Brace, PhD

Former, Alumni Relations Manager

GSEC, Team Alumni

Lear Brace, PhD

She/Her/Hers

Lear is the Alumni Relations Manager for GSEC. SHe is also a Senior Scientist at OneSkin in San Francisco and has spent the past ten years researching the Biology of Aging. Lear grew up on the East Coast and trained at New England BioLabs and the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute before joining the late James Mitchell's lab as a PhD student at Harvard University. Family and the realization that you CAN run away from snow brought her to California and a PostDoc at the Buck Institute for Research on Aging in Brian Kennedy's lab. Mentorship and teaching have always been extremely important, and she was thrilled to find opportunities with Cientifico Latino. Soon, in addition to working at a biotech company, Lear will also teach General Chemistry at a local community college in Oakland CA.

Chris Peritore-Galve, PhD

Alumni, Mentor Lead Contact

GSMI, Team Alumni

Chris Peritore-Galve, PhD

He/Him/His

Chris is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center in the Department of Pathology, Microbiology, and Immunology. He works in the lab of Dr. Borden Lacy studying interactions between toxins produced by the bacterial pathogen Clostridioides difficile and the colon. He earned his Bachelor's in Biology from the University of Missouri in 2015, and went on to earn a PhD in Plant Pathology and Plant-Microbe Biology at Cornell University, where he stoked his passion for Gram-positive bacterial pathogens. He grew up between Columbia, Missouri and Mexico City. Chris is dedicated to improving academic environments for future scientists from historically marginalized backgrounds and strives to help others achieve their academic goals through mentorship and guidance.

Jyoti Sharma

Alumni, GSMI interviewers, GSMI webinar moderator

GSMI, Digital Experience, Team Alumni

Jyoti Sharma

She/Her/Hers

Jyoti Sharma is currently pursuing master’s studies in Biochemistry at the University of Montreal with Dr. Nicole Francis as her thesis supervisor. She is a zoology graduate from the University of Delhi (2017). She held research fellowships at Institut de Génétique Moléculaire de Montpellier (IGMM) – CNRS, National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS), and Raman Research Institute (RRI).
As a team member, last year she handled the GSMI communications and shared resources on “Applying to Master’s Program in Europe” as a blog piece. This year she is excited to interact with the scholar’s aka protégés as a GSMI interviewer and share more of what she learned through webinars and infographics.
She is a proud first-generation student. In her spare time, she likes to watch planet documentaries and unravel trivia. She enjoys birding and currently learning the French language. She dreams to get lost in Andamans.

Kirill Chesnov

Alumni, Webinar Speaker

Digital Experience, Team Alumni

Kirill Chesnov

Kirill is a neurobiology graduate student working to develop new ways of interfacing with the brain at Duke University. He received his double BA in Neurobiology and in Computer Science from UC Berkeley. Himself being a first generation immigrant, Kirill seeks to help those struggling to navigate in American academic system, holding a firm belief that STEM education and careers should be accessible to everyone equally, despite their origins, immigration status, or financial situation.

Sebastian Diaz

Alumni, Volunteer

Team Alumni

Sebastian Diaz

Born in San Juan, Sebastian has lived most of his life in the island of Puerto Rico. He majored in Industrial Microbiology at the University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus where he became a part of the local MARC program (Maximizing Access to Research Careers). Through a series of summer internships, as well as undergraduate research, Sebastian gained significant research experience in host-pathogen interactions, which motivated him to pursue a PhD in Immunology. As a current PhD student at Yale University, Sebastian currently works studying immune responses in the brain and how those responses may promote pathology under certain conditions. As a Puerto Rican and a MARC fellow, Sebastian feels a deep commitment to helping students from underrepresented groups apply to, navigate and perservere in grad school. As part of the Cientifico Latino team, Sebastian works closely with the Graduate School Preparation Initiative.

Wendy C. Aquino Nunez, M.S.

Alumni, Recruitment Lead

GSEC, Team Alumni

Wendy C. Aquino Nunez, M.S.

She/Her/Hers

Wendy is a Cell, Molecular, and Developmental Biology Ph.D. candidate at the University of Kansas studying tau aggregation in-vivo using C. elegans. Born in The Dominican Republic, Wendy moved to Puerto Rico as a teen where she attended high school and later pursued a bachelor's degree in Molecular Biology at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus. After undergrad, Wendy moved to Georgia where she participated in the NIH Bridges to Doctorate Program at Kennesaw State University and completed a master's degree in Integrative Biology. At the start of her Ph.D., Wendy was awarded the University Fellowship and later became an NIH T32- Dynamics Aspects of Chemical Biology grant, fellow. Throughout her career, Wendy has remained passionate about science and creating an inclusive environment for minorities.

Samantha De León Sautu, MD

Alumni, Editor Assistant

Digital Experience, Team Alumni

Samantha De León Sautu, MD

She/Her/Hers

Sam is an argentinian-born, panamanian-raised medical doctor and writer, currently pursuing a Human Development, PhD in Cornell University.

Cristina Sotomayor

Alumni, Volunteer

Team Alumni

Cristina Sotomayor

Cristina is currently a sophomore majoring in Mathematics at the National Autonomous University of Mexico, where she is involved in undergraduate research in computational genomics and in mathematical biology. She is passionate about pushing boundaries between disciplines to further scientific research, and hopes to promote diversity in science by sharing resources for Latin American students and underrepresented minorities, especially at the undergraduate level.

Gabriela Bosque Ortiz

Alumni, co-Director of STEM Initiatives

Team Alumni

Gabriela Bosque Ortiz

Gabriela is currently a Ph.D. student in the Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program at Yale University. She was born and raised in Guaynabo, Puerto Rico. Previously, she received a Bachelor of Arts in Biological Sciences at Cornell University.

Sergio R. Labra

Alumni, GSEC Executive Co-Director

GSEC, Team Alumni

Sergio R. Labra

He/Him/His

Sergio is a neuroscience and chemical biology PhD candidate at the Scripps Research Institute working on Alzheimer's disease cerebral organoid models and treatments. Prior to beginning his doctoral studies in 2018, he earned a B.S.E. in Chemical & Biomolecular Engineering and a Master of Biotechnology at the University of Pennsylvania. As a naturalized immigrant, born and raised in Mexico, Sergio is committed to his community support efforts; leading numerous Latinx pre-professional organizations and mentorship programs at Penn, co-founding his current institution's Scientific Diversity Association, and co-developing the GSEC program at Científico Latino. Sergio strives to continue these, and future efforts synergizing mentorship, community outreach, and advocacy to assist and empower present and future generations of underrepresented minorities in STEM.

Paul Jacobs

Alumni, Mentor-Mentee Relations Team

GSEC, Team Alumni

Paul Jacobs

Originally from Phoenix, Arizona, Paul is currently a Ph.D. student in the bioengineering program at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. He studies how to use Magnetic Resonance Imaging as a tool to investigate metabolism in healthy and diseased populations. Before starting graduate school, Paul was introduced to medical imaging while working at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota as a Post-Baccalaureate researcher. Paul previously earned his B.S. in biomedical engineering from Drexel University.

Yessica Santana Agreda

Alumni, Fellowship Reviewer

GSMI, Team Alumni

Yessica Santana Agreda

She/Her/Hers

Yessica Santana Agreda is a Neuroscience Ph.D. Candidate at Oregon Health & Science University (OHSU) studying cell fate determination using the mammalian retina as a model system. Yessica is originally from Los Angeles, CA, and completed a Bachelor's Degree in Global Studies at UC Santa Barbara in 2017. During undergrad, she began research in educational psychology developing coding and online organic chemistry curricula, and then pivoted to cognitive neuroscience where she trained as an fMRI technician to study neural correlates of human behavior. Yessica went on to complete her first post-bacc in Neurobiology at the University of Pittsburgh studying retino-cortical circuitry and her second neuroscience post-bacc at OHSU. Being a first-generation Guatemalan-Mexican American, Yessica is passionate about creating equity in science research and creating the skillset to maximize one's graduate training.

Linda R. Lara-Jacobo

Alumni, GSMI Office Hours Coordinator

GSMI, Team Alumni

Linda R. Lara-Jacobo

Linda is a doctoral candidate in toxicology from the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS) in Quebec City, Canada. She was previously a professor at the Autonomous University of Baja California (UABC) in charge of the toxicology area and field experience at locations in the Lacandon Rain Forest, Cloud Forests, Boreal Forests, among others. She is also involved with community work in indigenous communities. Linda is passionate about mentoring and promoting diversity in STEM.

Gabriela Gonzalez Vasquez

Alumni, Matching Team Member

GSMI, Team Alumni

Gabriela Gonzalez Vasquez

She/Her/Hers

Gabriela is currently a senior majoring in Biology at Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Peru. She's an incoming Biochemistry Ph.D. student at Vanderbilt University, where she was awarded the Russell G. Hamilton Fellowship. Previously, she worked as a research assistant at the Guengerich Lab at Vanderbilt, where she discovered her passion for the DNA damage and repair research field. During this time, as an international, she noticed how different was researching in the US and highlighted her desired to help students with similar backgrounds. Since then, she has volunteered in multiple science programs to aspire and help Peruvian girls and undergrads. In 2020 she was part of the GSMI cohort, and this experience motivated her to become a member of the Cientifico Latino team. Gabriela hopes to become a role model for Latin American students and underrepresented minorities, help them achieve their career goals, and promote diversity in STEM.

Amber Young

Alumni, Assistant Blog Editor

Digital Experience, Team Alumni

Amber Young

She/Her/Hers

Amber is a graduate student in mechanical engineering at the University of California, Berkeley. She previously earned a Bachelor of Science in Physics from Yale University in 2021. Amber is passionate about science communication and promoting diversity in science and higher education. In the future, Amber hopes to become a research professor and contribute to sustainable space missions through bio-inspired design.

Marisa Rubio, PhD

Alumni, STEM Communications Director

Team Alumni

Marisa Rubio, PhD

Marisa is passionate about addressing the disconnect between basic science and society through more effective communication and by making careers in science available to everyone. She earned her B.S in Chemistry from Marshall University and Ph.D. in Molecular Biophysics & Biochemistry from Yale University. After postdoctoral training at the National Institutes of Health, Marisa returned to Yale and is currently a science writer in the Office of Development. She is a first generation Cuban-American and grew up in the beautiful Shenandoah Valley of West Virginia.

Jonathan Valenzuela

Alumni, Scholar Interviewer

GSMI, Team Alumni

Jonathan Valenzuela

He/Him/His

Jonathan "Jonny" Valenzuela is a doctoral student in Materials Science and Engineering at Lehigh University. He earned his undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia. After graduation, he served as an AmeriCorps STEM Facilitator from 2018 to 2019, where he worked to inspire and motivate underprivileged students to pursue careers in science and technology. In 2021, Jonny was awarded the GEM Fellowship, which provided him with the opportunity to pursue his PhD in Materials Science and Engineering at the Materials for Advanced Technology and Sustainability (MATS) Group at Lehigh. His research involves the creation of scalable crystal growth systems for ultra-wide bandgap nitride materials, which has the potential to revolutionize the fields of high-efficiency power electronics. In addition to his research, Jonny is actively involved in various initiatives at Lehigh. He is the Graduate Chair of the DEI Committee and Student Networking Committee at the Materials Science and Engineering Department, and he also serves as the Graduate Chair of Lehigh's Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. Through his leadership and commitment to service, Jonny wishes to make advancements in his field while the promoting diversity and inclusivity in STEM.

Mindy Le

Alumni, Blog Editor in Chief

Digital Experience, Team Alumni

Mindy Le

She/Her/Hers

Mindy graduated from Yale University, earning a B.S. in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology. She currently attends the University of Florida College of Medicine. Mindy is passionate about improving access to educational resources in the sciences. Her parents immigrated from Vietnam to the U.S., where she was born and raised in Titusville, FL. Mindy was the Científico Latino Blog Editor in Chief from 2019 to 2021.

Pia Rodriguez

Alumni, GSEC Executive Co-Director

GSEC, Team Alumni

Pia Rodriguez

She/Her/Hers

Pia is a Cell Biology PhD candidate at Duke University studying glial mitochondrial dynamics in brain development in the laboratory of Dr. Cagla Eroglu. Born in Bolivia to Peruvian parents, Pia grew up undocumented in the US learned the critical importance of mentorship for people like her to access and succeed in STEM. She earned a full scholarship to UNC-Chapel Hill despite her undocumented status, which allowed her to pursue her bachelor's degree in biology. During her time at UNC, Pia became a leader in undocumented student advocacy and policy reform, an issue she is still passionate about today. After undergrad, Pia joined the Regenerative Medicine Lab at United Therapeutics in NC, where she was one of the lead researchers to develop a stem cell-based therapy for chronic lung disease. At Duke, Pia is a 2020 PD Soros Fellow, a BioCoRE Scholar, and Co-Chair of Duke's Cell Biology Diversity and Inclusion Committee. Through these efforts and beyond, Pia remains committed to diversifying academic spaces while empowering and mentoring marginalized STEM trainees.

Alvaro Sahagun

Alumni, GSMI Interviewer

GSMI, Team Alumni

Alvaro Sahagun

He/Him/His

My name is Alvaro Sahagun, and I am originally from Chicago Heights, IL. I attended the University of Illinois, Chicago, where I received my B. S. in Electrical Engineering with a focus in solid-state devices, mathematics, and materials engineering. I am now a second year Electrical Engineering and Computer Science (EECS) graduate student working in Prof. Akintunde Akinwande's lab. My research interest is in field emission, field ionization, thin films, and micro/nanofabrication. Outside of lab and courses, I enjoy running, cooking, baking, and binge watching The Simpsons.

Daniela Barraza

Alumni, Social Media team

Digital Experience, Team Alumni

Daniela Barraza

She/Her/Hers

Daniela is a first-gen Mexican-American scholar from Sunland Park, NM. She attended New Mexico State University for her undergraduate studies, where she obtained a degree in Biochemistry and participated in the MARC NIH program. Daniela is currently a PhD candidate in Biological Sciences at Harvard Medical School, studying the role of intestinal enteroendocrine cells in the host response to enteric bacterial infection. She is currently part of the CL social media team and has previously served as a mentor for our CL Graduate School Mentorship Initiative (GSMI) program. Outside of lab, Daniela enjoys playing soccer, cooking and spending time with family and friends.

Abhishek Tyagi

Alumni, GSMI Office Hours Coordinator

GSMI, Team Alumni

Abhishek Tyagi

Abhishek is an incoming PhD student in the Computer Science department at the University of Rochester in Fall 2020. Born and raised in an Indian household, Abhishek is a first-generation college student. As an international first-generation student, Abhishek brings to Cientifico Latino the the desire to help future graduate students navigate hurdles in the application process to Computer Science and Engineering graduate programs. Abhishek believes that the ability to understand difficult situations and find solutions goes a long way in developing as a person. Having gone through graduate school applications twice, Abhishek is interested in understanding and dissecting problems and challenges that students face in different communities and help find better solutions and approaches to help them achieve their goals. With the diverse nature of Cientifico Latino, Abhishek is confident that the team will be able make a difference in a wide range of communities!

Leonor García-Bayona, Ph.D.

Alumni, Strategic partnerships

GSMI

Leonor García-Bayona, Ph.D.

The García-Bayona lab at Stanford studies the role of mobile genes in the community interactions of the human intestinal microbiota. Leonor grew up in Bogota, Colombia and completed her Chemical Engineering and Microbiology undergraduate studies at the University of the Andes. During her doctoral work in the lab of Michael Laub at MIT, she acquired a strong background in bacterial genetics, physiology, genomics and interbacterial antagonism. She the became a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Laurie Comstock, first at Brigham and Women's Hospital/Harvard Medical School and later at the University of Chicago. In the Comstock lab, Leonor trained in intestinal anaerobe microbiology, advanced microscopy and bioinformatics. Leonor is deeply committed to promoting equitable access for all to STEM.

Carlos Rico Ph.D.

Alumni, Lead Outreach & Workshop Coordinator; GSMI Data Analysis Director

GSMI, Team Alumni

Carlos Rico Ph.D.

He/Him/His

Carlos graduated from Hamilton College in 2010 where he majored in chemical physics. For graduate studies, he joined the laboratory of Dr. Thomas Sakmar at the Rockefeller University as part of the tri-institutional training program in chemical biology. To support his research efforts, Carlos was awarded the NSF graduate research fellowship in 2012. He received his Ph.D. in 2017 where he employed single molecule methods to interrogate receptor-ligand binding interactions. He then joined the bio-imaging resource center at the Rockefeller University where he taught other scientists how to operate various light microscopes. He is currently a medical student at Weill Cornell Medicine.

Bailey Marshall, MBT

Alumni, Blog Editor in Chief

Digital Experience, Team Alumni

Bailey Marshall, MBT

She/Her/Hers

Bailey received my B.S. in Molecular Biology at the University of Puget Sound. After her undergrad, she worked in industry for a year before returning to graduate school to receive her Masters in Biotechnology at San Jose State, a business-focus program for scientists. In addition to this program, she was selected as a CIRM Scholar to study Stem Cell Biology at Stanford. After a few years in industry, she is now working as a Program Associate at CZI.

Aníbal Tornés Blanco

Alumni, Data Analysis

GSMI

Aníbal Tornés Blanco

He/Him/His

Anibal is a rising second year PhD student at the University of Michigan - Ann Arbor in the Biological Chemistry program working in Mechanisms of Epigenetic Regulation with Dr.Kaushik Ragunathan. He was born in La Habana, Cuba and migrated short after to Puerto Rico where he pursued his B.S. in Integrative Biology at the University of Puerto Rico - Rio Piedras. During outreach events he realized that as he answered questions for students and elders in his community, more questions than answers emerged. This led him to look for answers directly with the scientists generating them and he became involved with the NIH - RISE program at his home institution. There he learned about diverse research programs which allowed him to work with biomedical informatics, structural biology and even launch an experiment in a NASA rocket! Such vast experiences gave him purpose to become a mentor and part of the Cientifico Latino team to streamline the PhD pathway for diverse generations of scientists to come.

Alan S. Goldman, PhD

Alumni, Faculty Advisor, Rutgers University

Team Alumni

Alan S. Goldman, PhD

Alan Goldman was born and raised in Queens, NY. He received his B.A. and Ph.D. from Columbia University, studying the mechanisms of photoinduced organometallic reactions. He then took an IBM Post-doctoral Fellowship in the lab of Prof. Jack Halpern at the University of Chicago. Goldman began his independent career as an assistant professor at Rutgers University where he is currently Distinguished Professor of Chemistry. His research focuses on the development and mechanistic study of reactions catalyzed by transition metal complexes, with a focus on energy-related problems. He is faculty advisor for LEEDAR, an outreach program through which Rutgers graduate and undergraduate students try to bring the excitement of scientific research to high school classrooms, and is Director of the Graduate Program and Chair of the Graduate Admissions Committee of the Rutgers Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology. Goldman has received an Alfred P. Sloan Fellowship, a Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Fellowship, the ACS Catalysis Lectureship Award for the Advancement of Catalytic Science, and the American Chemical Society Award in Organometallic Chemistry. He is delighted to be part of Cientifico Latino!

bottom of page