Author: Anna Mancha | Category: Meet The Researcher | Physiology & Pharmacology | Physiology and Pharmacology | May 07, 2015
When did you first become interested in
pharmacology or science?
My interest in science began in high
school, but really became something I was passionate about during my
undergraduate studies. I found my
chemistry coursework as an undergrad to be challenging and fascinating, so that
is most likely where I decided to commit my life to science.
It seemed like the more I learn about new
scientific concepts and techniques, the more motivated I am to continue to
pursue this path.
When did you decide that graduate school was the
right step for you?
My background is mainly in chemistry, so
after completing my M.S. in chemistry I knew that I wanted to diversify my
knowledge base and skillset by integrating a biomedical science component into
my academic career.
Pursuing a Ph.D. seemed like the best way to attain the
biomedical component to my knowledge base and the continued scientific training
that I was hoping to achieve before entering the workforce.
What have some of your favorite memories in
graduate school been/what have you learned?
Honestly, my favorite memories in graduate
school pertain more to the folks I have met while studying here rather than
anything related to science. Graduate
school comes at such an important time in our lives that so much happens in the
years in which you are fervently pursuing this beast of a degree.
I have a very close knit group of grad
student friends whom have been together since our first year, and since we
began this journey our group has experienced the wonderful gifts of many
memorable group road trips, five marriages and one child. So much in our lives has
changed since we first met, but the one thing that has remained the same is our
unyielding support for one another both in science and in life.
Thus far as a graduate student I have learned
so many things, but I would say that the most important things are to
1) remember to think outside the box, 2) work hard as much as you can whenever
you can, and 3) resort to margaritas in times of experimental roadblocks.
What advice would you give to a prospective
student interested in graduate school?
If you have a true passion for science,
then the desire is definitely there in terms of whether or not you should
attend graduate school.
Ultimately, whether or not you survive depends on hard
work and determination, so make sure you’ve mentally committed yourself to both
before you embark on this epic journey. Like any experience in life, there are good times and bad in graduate
school; the key to survival is perspective and an excellent support system.
did you choose the UT Health Science Center?
chose this institution because, unlike the other places I considered for
graduate studies, UTHSCSA felt very homey and close knit when I visited. I met with Dr. Nicquet Blake, and instantly
felt like she had a personal interest in my success.
To me, feeling like the faculty cared about
whether or not I could “sink or swim” was just the sort of support system I was
looking for. I was also incredibly
impressed with the vast amounts of different translational research that was
taking place at this institution.
Moreover, the fluid nature of the disciplines, wherein collaboration
between labs was fostered, was very appealing as well.
are your career goals? Do you feel adequately prepared for your career?
think it’s too early just yet to discuss my career goals, as I was once told by
a wise upper-level graduate student to take small bites of the colossal
sandwich that is the completion of graduate school. However, I do know that
whatever I decide to pursue after my completion of my graduate studies, I will
have been more than adequately prepared by my guiding mentor, invaluable
department, and supportive peers.
thinking about careers, what do you like to do outside the lab?
a mom of a one-and-a-half-year-old, I spend most of my free time (hah!) with my husband
and my daughter. During most weekends, we can
be found enjoying a picnic at the park, sipping beer at the friendly spot, or
relaxing at home. We also enjoy
entertaining on the weekends, and try to make time to invite our UTHSCSA family
over to our home for dinner and drinks whenever we can get the gang together.
This article is part of the "Meet The Researcher" series which showcases researchers at the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences at University of Texas Health Science Center San Antonio.
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