Name: Diana Cruz Garcia
Year: Fourth Year
Hometown: Los Angeles
What is a memorable project that you worked on during your time at UC Merced?
The most memorable project that I’ve worked on was during my first summer as a UC LEADS scholar back in 2019. It was my first time conducting stem cell research in Professor Kara McCloskey’s lab and my project was to create microvasculature from stem cells via microfluidic devices. I worked under my graduate student mentor, Jose, and I spent more than 40 hours a week in lab that summer and LOVED IT.
What did you learn personally and academically by participating in this?
I grew so much throughout this experience, both as a person and as a researcher. As a researcher, I learned that mistakes in lab are inevitable, that there is no such thing as “no results,” and I learned that patience is key. Personally, I learned that I am a hands-on learner, that I want to pursue a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering, and I learned that I AM capable of success. Overall, having the chance to conduct research and be mentored by faculty allowed me to see my potential and inspired me to take what I learned and share it with other first-generation underrepresented minorities, such as myself. I created a YouTube channel toward the end of that summer to support and encourage disadvantaged students to pursue higher education.
UC Merced has a lot of opportunities for experiential learning. What would you say to a future student who wants to be involved?
I would say to take a chance, push yourself to achieve your goals and take advantage of the opportunities at UC Merced. This is your time to shape yourself into the person you want to be by the time graduation comes. Be a leader to your community by leading by example. UC Merced is the perfect environment for you to grow and become a confident and phenomenal researcher!