By Sonia Hiew
California State University, Northridge’s BUILD PODER undergraduate scholars are participating in summer programs at various institutions across the country.
BUILD PODER Scholar Amy Sariles
Amy Sariles, a cell and molecular biology major, is spending her summer at Baylor’s College of Medicine under the Summer Undergraduate Research Training program (SMART).
She is working on a project that focuses on determining the metabolic effects of aspartame, an artificial sweetener, in mice fed a high fat/sucrose diet using multi-omics approaches.
She is also learning how to collect tissue samples from mice, do statistical analysis and work with mice models.
“I learned how to work and handle the live mice, how to dissect and collect their liver, intestines and how to fix samples, then how to do DNA extraction from mice feces,” Sariles said.
In addition, Sariles’ SMART program hosts weekly seminars on professional development and different research areas.
“It’s cool learning about other research going on and how people have gotten to the place they are in their careers,” Sariles said.
BUILD Scholar Daniella Barrios, who is majoring in communication disorder sciences, is doing summer research at the Office of Research in Clinical Amplification (ORCA-US) at the Illinois Technology & Research Corridor.
Barrios’ project involves collecting data for voice onset time of certain consonants and vowels in the Arabic language in order to improve user experience with hearing aids.
“My mentor and all of the staff here are really friendly and they’ve done their best to make me feel welcome,” said Barrios, who is considering applying to ORCA-US after graduation.
“I can see how responsible they are and how much they care for their students.”
BUILD PODER Scholar Daniella Barrios
BUILD PODER Scholar Carol Moreno-Garcia
Carol Moreno-Garcia, a cell and molecular biology major, is doing her summer research at Stanford University, in the lab of Nidhi Bhutani, PhD. She describes her experiences so far as “absolutely wonderful.”
Working closely with her exceptional mentor, Will Yu, a PhD bioengineering student, their primary focus is on unraveling the complex molecular pathways within chondrocytes.
“The goal is to establish a correlation between inflammation to develop immunoresistant cartilage,” Moreno-Garcia said.
With a strong passion for research and academia, she aspires to build a career where she can inspire and mentor others.
“The opportunities and connections I've made here have been invaluable,” Moreno-Garcia said. “Choosing this place for research has been one of the best decisions I've made, providing me with invaluable insights for my future academic endeavors.”
To view photos of more BUILD PODER scholars participating in summer research activities, please see their Instagram.
By John Garza
As the BUILDing SCHOLARS program at the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) prepares for its tenth year, staff reflected on the many successes from the program and its trainees.
During the annual Senior Ceremony on May 6, Marc Cox, PhD, and Osvaldo Morera, PhD, presented stoles to six graduates, who were among the 134 BUILD graduates to complete the program at UTEP over the last nine years.
These 2023 graduates follow in the path of their predecessors to continue their research training in a variety of graduate and academic programs, such as post-baccalaureate positions at Duke University, the Mayo Clinic or the University of California, San Francisco.
Among the graduates who received stoles, Sol Corral and Valeria Virrueta shared their plans for their future studies.
Corral, who studied gender differences in drinking among Hispanic individuals with mentor Craig Field, PhD, will pursue her PhD in social psychology at the University of Kansas this fall.
Virrueta, a microbiology major mentored by Anita Quintana, PhD, will participate in a post-bacc program in chemical biology for a year at UCSF, before transitioning to the Biomedical Engineering PhD program at the University of Texas at Austin in Fall 2024.
2023 BUILDing SCHOLARS cohort: (L to R) Alejandra Casas, Ayleen Mendoza, Adrian Hernandez, Alexa Reyes, Ramon Holguin, Alondra Rodriguez, Eduardo Gutierrez
To date, more than 24 BUILDing SCHOLARS alumni have completed post-graduate degrees, including masters, PhDs and other doctorates. These achievements grow each year, as more trainees pursue graduate degrees, including 17 additional alumni who completed post-baccalaureate programs. This spring alone, four alumni shared their post-graduate success stories with the team on social media, including Daniel Chavarria, PhD, Jozelyn Rascon, DPT, and Victoria Rosas, Masters in Physician Assistant Studies.
Six 2023 BUILDing SCHOLARS graduates and three Principal Investigators: (L to R) Osvaldo Morera, PhD, Sol Corral, Ennis Galaz, Ethan Ramos, Lourdes Echegoyen, PhD, Frances Rangel, Valeria Virrueta, Vianey Quaney, Marc Cox, PhD
Following the Senior Ceremony, seven new trainees for the 2023-24 academic year were officially received into the BUILD community during the Welcome Orientation.
The orientation included a parent and student workshop administered by Cox, where attending family members were introduced to the practical aspects of being a biomedical researcher to help them better understand their children’s developing research careers.
“Parents and family members provide critical support as our students navigate their educational journey, and it is important that we work collaboratively with the family to ensure the success of their children and our Scholars,” Cox said.
The Welcome Orientation is the first step for many of the trainees as they begin their research careers. BUILDing SCHOLARS is proud to support the first leg of their journey as undergraduate researchers, and prepare them for graduate school and beyond.
By Nicole Streicker
CSULB BUILD welcomed their newest cohort with a meet & greet to kick off their Summer Undergraduate Research Gateway to Excellence (SURGE) program.
On May 5, 2023, CSULB BUILD hosted their New Cohort Meet & Greet, giving incoming Fellows and Scholars an opportunity to meet and mingle with current Fellows and Scholars.
This was a unique opportunity for students to connect with the graduating class of BUILD trainees and get to meet the Year Two Scholars who may be away at their internships during summer. The team provided bagels, coffee and tea, and played an icebreaker game of “people bingo.”
The new cohort participated in the eight-week Summer Undergraduate Research Gateway to Excellence (SURGE) Program, which began June 6 and concluded July 27 with the Annual BUILD Summer Research Symposium where each student presented a research poster. SURGE is the trainees’ first experience of the BUILD program at CSULB.
New, continuing and graduating students mingle. Pictured (L to R): Ana Garcia, Grace Min, Carlin Bruce, Janice Ko, Tammy Nguyen, Madi Roach, Katrina Jensen, Araceli Gonzalez and Anais Johnson
The summer program includes lots of activities, trainings and events, such as a trip to the ASI Beach Kitchen, field trip to UCI, Elevator Speech Competition and the Summer Symposium. Students will get a break before returning to campus on Aug. 22 for the first day of fall classes.
New BUILD cohort trainees mingling.
Check out the CSULB BUILD Instagram to get to know our new cohort!
Claudia (Vanessa) Avila Rios, Jadon Buller, Brooke Diaz, Rachael Gomez, Ji Hyun (Janice) Ko, Sophia Manjarrez, Bryan Navarrete, Angelica Sanchez-Gomez, Gabrielle (Naomi) Ventura and Sean Yonemori
Alyssa Alfaro, Carlin Bruce, Wesley Chen, Yonathan (Jonathan) Contreras Perez, Edwin Danahy, Joselyn (Jo) Estrada, Grace Min, Madison (Madi) Roach, Kerollos Roufael, Alp Tahincioglu, Sofia Uribe and Kailee Yang.
As the team welcomes the new trainees to campus, the current BUILD Scholars are continuing their research. Some stay at CSULB, while others choose to go to an off-site summer research experience.
Check out where the Year Two Scholars are doing research this summer:
SPAD & DPC DaTA
The Diversity Program Consortium Coordination and Evaluation Center at UCLA is supported by Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health / National Institutes of General Medical Sciences under award number U54GM119024.