Interview with Rose Serrano, Fullerton College Graduate
by Jonaé Varela
OCBE Job Developer
Our Job Developer, Jonae Varela, had the pleasure of speaking to one of our alumna, Rose Serrano. Rose is an alumna of Fullerton College and Fullerton College Biotechnology Program. She is currently working on her undergraduate degree at University of California, Irvine (UCI). Rose’s current role is as an undergraduate researcher in Neuroscience and Neurobiology at UCI.
What is your name, current position, and pronouns?
My name is Rose Guadalupe Serrano (she/her/hers), I am first-generation and Mexican-American. I am a current undergraduate student and researcher at the University of California, Irvine. I am conducting research in Dr. Marcelo Wood’s lab in epigenetics.
What programs or research have you been involved with at UCI?
I am a MARC (Maximizing Access to Research Careers) Scholar which has given me access to conduct research at UCI. I was also accepted in summer 2020, to an internship program with Penn State University. Furthermore, I have experience in two other Neurobiology and Neuroscience labs, one was a lab that focused on endocannabinoid receptors and the other worked with the effects of nicotine addiction.
How did the Fullerton College Biotechnology Program assist you?
I learned a lot of great laboratory techniques that helped me prepare for the lab work that I am currently doing. It was like having a ‘foot forward’ compared to other students that didn’t have this experience in the biotechnology program. Knowing these skills such as gel electrophoresis, PCR, DNA extraction are all skills I use in my current lab. The program gave me the skills to be successful in a lab setting. I knew fundamental techniques that set me apart from other students who didn’t receive this training.
Were you always interested in STEM?
At first I wanted to go into Psychology. I was very fascinated with learning about the brain and how we affect it. This led me to want to learn more about how trauma affects the brain. Which ultimately lead me to going into Neurobiology.
Did COVID-19 effect your research at UCI?
Yes, I had to stop all experiments and wait until we had clearance. One good part of this, was that I was able to start the experiment from the beginning so I got experience setting that up, which was helpful.
Any recommendations for other undergraduate students taking online courses?
Build a schedule, keep a list of what you need to do, and a list of what you have done for the day so you can see your accomplishments!
What are some words of encouragement for students who may be interested in majoring in STEM?
Put in the time and effort to build that curiosity. If there is something that really interest you, take the time to get excited and research about it more.
What are your goals for after graduation?
I am applying to PhD programs in Neurobiology and Neuroscience. My dream is to become a research professor and have a lab that focuses on PTSD, trauma, and neuropsychological disorders. I think Latinx/Chicanx representation is very important for faculty and I hope to provide guidance and care for other fellow Latinx/Chicanx students as they continue on their journey in STEM.