Brendaliz Santiago-Narvaez, PhD
What is your current position?
I am an Assistant Professor (tenure track faculty) for the Department of Biology at Rollins College in Winter Park, Florida. In this position I teach courses for the Biology and Biochemistry/ Molecular Biology Majors and also have my own independent research lab.
How did your training in MBI help you with your career?
The mentorship and the exceptional research experiences I had prepared me for my academic career. The program really does a great job of addressing many of the skills you will need to be successful once you complete your training. Aspects of the program that have been invaluable to my career were: the opportunity to present my work to an audience regularly, the exceptional classes (that I still rely on to teach my own coursework!), the responsibility of developing and completing a research project of the highest caliber and the support of the faculty in providing expert insight into my work and its potential. As a student I was held at a very high standard. I would not have been able to set up my own lab ( at Rollins), make the right decisions regarding my research and the management of my lab if it weren’t for my training at UR.
What aspects of our graduate program stand out for you?
The department has a great selection of faculty/ research options that give any student a really comprehensive research experience. The faculty and the level of research that takes place at UR is outstanding. The faculty were the major driving force behind my choosing of UR. They are amazing scientists and mentors. I could not have developed a sense of confidence I have in my work today if it were not for the faculty I worked with and the classes/ research I conducted during my training.
What were the things you like best about living in Rochester?
I loved the community, the diversity of the city, its active and flourishing art scene and also, I loved the Department. I always felt welcome in the IMV program . It is great to be in a place where everyone knows your name.
I would add that as a minority student I felt incredibly supported throughout my entire career at UR. The IMV program has done an exceptional job through the years to ensure that there is diversity among the students recruited. The support and the resources provided by the program is a testament to how they understand the needs of underrepresented minorities in the academic setting, and are committed to supporting the success of their students.