Spotlight: Nicole Villagomez
Ever since Nicole Villagomez was young, she dreamed of one day getting involved in police work. Her mother, who now works as a nurse, had always aspired to be a police officer and served as a major influence on Nicole. Thanks in part to the police shows they would watch together, Nicole began to realize her desire to pursue the forensics field.
In Nicole’s first semester at Fullerton College, she enrolled for BIOL 190, an Introductory Biotech course with Dr. Jo Wu. Nicole excelled in her lab skills and, upon completing her certificate, was offered a job with Dr. Wu to work as a Biotechnology Tutor and Teaching Assistant. “[Getting that job] encouraged me to really step it up and realize that there is a lot more out there for me.”
Today, Nicole juggles two jobs along with a full course load for her Chemistry major and Forensics minor. She also helps run the Amgen program, which delivers college-grade lab equipment to high school teachers around Orange County. As part of her job, Nicole trains teachers to perform the very labs she learned in her biotech classes. Nicole currently plans to transfer to San Jose State University or CSU East Bay and eventually pursue a Master’s degree in forensics science or criminology.
When asked what she has gained from the Biotech program, Nicole emphasized the importance of soft skills. In addition to improving her lab work, Nicole communicated daily with biotech staff and faculty via emails and phone calls. By collaborating with faculty and brainstorming biotech’s applications in the modern world, Nicole developed a professionalism that she believes will propel her future career.
Our interview concluded with a few words of encouragement for all fellow STEM students: “Do not be intimidated by the college level science courses here” Nicole said. “Keep pushing through it; it’s definitely worth it in the end when you realize how much better you are for it.”