What sparked your interest in science?
I always felt amazed by the living world, to understand life and its different forms captivated me. As a high school student, I had the opportunity to participate in a pre-college summer internship at NASA, where I first heard of water bears (tardigrades). The fact that these extremophiles could resist the vacuum of space blew my mind and further motivated me to formally study science and biology.
What attracted you to UC Berkeley?
I felt attracted to UC Berkeley for various reasons, including, but not limited to, their strong and cutting-edge basic science research, diversity of evolutionary biology research, the collaborative environment and their emphasis on pedagogy. Furthermore, I also felt attracted to the historical aspects on progressive social movements that many UC Berkeley students participated in.
What are you currently working on in the lab?
I am currently studying the evolution of animal multicellularity by studying choanoflagellates. My project is related to the evolution of collective apical contractions and the role of nitric oxide signaling in this process.
Describe your ultimate dream/goal for your future.
My academic professional goal is to have my own lab, to teach and to participate on administrative processes to further improve and transform the education system, focusing on the diversity of learning methods and increasing the opportunities and success rate for minority groups in academia.
When I'm not in the lab, I can be found...
Doing more active activities like hiking, pole fitness and dancing; or more passive activities like drawing, painting and tattooing.
If you could go back in time and give yourself a piece of advice during your first year in graduate school, what would you say?
Whatever you are doing is more than enough, enjoy every step of the process.