Spotlight: Angelique Cortez
Even back in her high school days, Angelique recognized her penchant for science. But like many of her peers, she did not know how to direct her interests towards any specific career. Thankfully, the answer started to take shape during her senior year; Angelique grew close with her AP Environmental Science teacher, whose passion in science inspired her to take the leap into a STEM major at Fullerton College.
From her first college semester, Angelique saw that her academic journey would prove to be an uphill one. As a first-generation college student, she didn’t have the option to lean on family members for college advice like some of her peers did. Moreover, Angelique juggled a full-time class schedule with numerous jobs (at one point working as much as 25 hours per week while studying). And despite her best attempts to adjust to the demands of work and school, Angelique watched her schedule pile higher and higher with science courses. In fact, she became so inundated with core classes that during her last year, Angelique discovered that a scheduling conflict would prevent her from taking both Organic Chemistry and Physics in the same semester. With few other options, her counselor suggested taking a biotech course to maintain her full-time student status.
Sure, Angelique had, on occasion, noticed the promotional biotech flyers that were scattered around campus. But beyond a brief glance at the posters during her walks to and from class, her knowledge about the biotechnology field was extremely limited. Nonetheless, she needed the class to maintain her full-time status. Angelique took a chance and enrolled, which serendipitously turned out to be one of her “fondest experiences at Fullerton College.” In fact, after she completed BIO190: Introduction to Biotechnology, Angelique was so encapsulated by the field that she enrolled in another biotech class the following semester.
Today, Angelique has already received her A.A. degree in Biology and is pursuing her four-year degree at UCI. She plans to continue her education and earn an MD or PhD in Neurology/Immunology with the goal of helping patients affected by neurodegenerative diseases.