Let’s hear from Alejandro, a Department of Microbiology and Immunology graduate student as he takes a moment to answer questions for LSLC participants.
What is your hometown? Guaynabo, Puerto Rico
If you had to explain what you do to LSLC students, how would you describe your research? My research focus is Microbiology. I study how a bacterium (germ, microbe) that lives in your mouth is able to attach to heart tissues. The heart, along with many other tissues, is mostly composed of collagen and the Streptococcus mutans specifically adheres to collagen thus infecting a subject and causing disease.
Why did you decide to intern with the LSLC? Throughout my young career I have received plenty of mentoring and advice from peers, professors and scientists. I understand the value of being engaged with the young students and its importance in shaping their lives through knowledge and education. As an LSLC Intern, I can be a mentor to someone and pass on all the good things I have learned.
What was the first science concept you remember learning in school? I do not remember specifically, but I do remember an early experience in 9th grade where I learned the usefulness of units of measure. We were trying to measure the area and volume of various objects, most of them simple and regular in shape. However, when we were asked to measure the volume of a three-dimensional irregularly shaped object no one could get the true measurement (including the teacher). In fact, she used that object to exemplify the difficulty of using regular methods to measure it (e.g. measuring tape, ruler). When I approached my father (trained in Chemistry) he explained to me that volume can also be measured by water displacement. The next day, when I explained this and showed everyone how to measure it, not only me but everyone learned that the displacement of water is proportional to the volume of an object. A concept first described hundreds of years ago by Archimedes when he said "Eureka!"
You are a scientist, but what other things do you like? Sports (cycling, soccer, basketball, climbing etc.), reading, listening to music
What encouraging message would you tell LSLC middle school and high school students? Knowledge can be a powerful tool in your quest to success. Yet, knowing yourself is the most important thing you need before anything else.
Let’s hear from Letitia, a Department of Microbiology and Immunology graduate student as she takes a moment to answer questions for LSLC participants.
What is your hometown? Aiken,SC
If you had to explain what you do to LSLC students, how would you describe your research? I research how the virus, HIV, is able to enter the brain even though there is a barrier that prevents pathogens (bacteria, virus, etc.) from entering the brain. I want to know how pathogens are able to enter and what can be done to prevent this from happening.
Why did you decide to intern with the LSLC? I decided to intern with the LSLC because I enjoy working with young children and also I want to show them at an early age that science is important and can be very FUN!!
What was the first science concept you remember learning in school? The first science concept I learned was in middle school. I learned that there are 'good' bacteria in our bodies that are important for digesting food.
You are a scientist, but what other things do you like? Repairing gadgets, spending time with family and reading
What encouraging message would you tell LSLC middle school and high school students? Believe in yourself and never stop dreaming. Dreams do come true when you believe and work hard for them.