My intentions were there. 

My intentions were there. My heart was set! I loved science (still do) and felt passionately about understanding the chemical principles that govern biological processes. I was going to pursue a PhD! However, the question remained… Would I be capable of performing research in a laboratory?  Working in a laboratory involves conducting experiments that require a high level of dexterity which are difficult to complete without fingers. I struggled… For months I could not get my experiments to work, let alone give solid data. The prospect of being the first in a family of Colombian immigrants to obtain a PhD appeared to dwindle. However, the key word here is “appeared”. During these times there were no other graduate students or faculty members that I felt could understand how I was feeling… ALONE. Nevertheless, empowered by my past successes, I never gave up and stayed true to my vision. I remembered the challenges I faced as a child that I had overcome. Learning how to write with a pencil, learning how to shoot a basketball, learning how to ride a bike… At one point all these challenges “appeared” hopeless and have one commonality. I PERSEVERED. I did what I do best… ADAPT! I ultimately overcame the technical challenges associated with research and my work flourished. Shortly afterwards, I was awarded a prestigious fellowship from the National Institutes of Health… and in less than 7 days I will be defending my thesis and completing my PhD in chemistry from Brown University.  During difficult times it’s challenging to think of nothing but the present. However, remembering our struggles and successes gives us the strength to continue moving forward.






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