RISE Scholar Photos & Bios

Diane Aguilar

Diane is a senior at California State University Dominguez Hills and is majoring in Microbiology. She is expected to graduate spring 2020. She has always been interested in microorganism’s ability to adapt in a stressful environment and how they become resistant to antibiotics. She is now working with Dr. Kram researching Escherichia coli in long-term stationary phase. In this phase E. coli has shown occurrences of repeated mutations in its genome. Diane has been trying to recreate these mutations in a laboratory setting to help further the understanding of the evolution of E. coli. She wishes to continue her education and successfully transition into graduate school.

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RISE Scholar- Nataly AriasNataly Arias

Nataly Jaqueline Arias is a non-graduating senior at California State University, Dominguez Hills. She is expected to graduate in Spring 2019 with a B.S in Cellular and Molecular Biology. Both her parents migrated to the United States from Mexico and El Salvador looking to provide a better future for themselves and their families. From an early age, Nataly’s father instilled in her a love of learning, particularly that which pertained to the math and sciences. As Nataly began her college career, she explored her interests and found a passion in contributing to her community by partaking in biomedical research. She is currently working with Dr. Shehla Pervin at Charles R. Drew University of Science and Medicine examining key players that promote interaction breast cancer cells with its host microenvironment. Nataly served as a representative for California State University, Dominguez Hills at a STEM geared delegation in China in the summer of 2016. On her spare time, she likes to explore new eating hubs, reading non- fiction, and starting new TV series on Netflix.

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RISE Scholar- Albert BarriosAlbert Barrios

Albert always had an interest in studying cellular pathways and the mechanisms that allows the cell to survive and thrive. He is currently a senior majoring in Cellular and Molecular biology at California State University, Dominguez Hills. Albert started conducting research with sea anemones at Cabrillo Marine Aquarium, then conducted environmental field research for five years regarding the impacts of human activity on sea anemones’ population in San Pedro. It was until he reached the 11th grade in high school, where he was introduced to biomedical research. During his time in high school, he worked on breast cancer cell lines and the MAPK pathway under the mentorship of Dr. Shehla Pervin, at Charles Drew University, along with former USTAR and RISE colleagues. It was at that time, he wanted to major in the biological sciences. During his college career, out of academic curiosity and determination, Albert decided to join the RISE program to explore other fields of science and conduct research. While continuing to work with Dr. Pervin, he plans to use his newfound research experience to find his path to a Ph.D. program and help further the field in the biological sciences.

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RISE Scholar- Natalya CardonaNatalya Cardona

Natalya Cardona, a CSUDH Presidential Scholar award recipient, is aiming to receive her bachelor’s in Cellular and Molecular biology in Spring 2020. As a non-traditional first generation college student born and raised in El Salvador, her academic journey has led her to interesting learning opportunities. Her volunteering experience in hospitals and health centers in both, the United States and El Salvador allowed her to witness health deterioration from two totally different perspectives. Natalya is interested in understanding disease causation, and in developing personalized treatments. She has already participated in research projects involving from clinical studies of newborn’s heart health to computational approaches in vaccine development and autism. She is currently gaining research experience in computational biology and bioinformatics in Dr. Singhal’s Lab by addressing evolutionary questions about speciation. She aims to implement both experimental and computational methods in future research projects to study complex human disease mechanisms during her PhD training. Natalya loves hiking, and enjoys sports, visiting museums/historic sites, trying new food, and serving as a tutor/peer-mentor.

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Erick Galdamez Calles

Erick Galdamez Calles is currently a Junior at Cal State Dominguez Hills majoring in Biochemistry, who transferred from Skyline College in San Bruno, California. He grew up in San Francisco and chose to move to LA to pursue his bachelor's degree at Dominguez Hills. His interest in Biochemistry arose in Community College when taking his first chemistry classes. The challenge that came along with this class also helped in sparking the interest in pursuing a career within the chemistry field. While going to community college, he was apart of the Science and Research club, volunteered at science festivals, attended science conferences like: [Society of Hispanics for Professional Engineers (Cleveland, Ohio) 2018, Chinese Bioscience Association Conference (Foster City, California) 2018], and was given the opportunity to do summer research with San Francisco State’s Bridges to the Baccalaureate program. After transferring out of Skyline College, he was accepted in the RISE program at CSUDH. He is now doing research at Charles R. Drew Medical School, where he is working on the role of CARF in Insulin Resistance and Non-Alcoholic Fatty Liver disease NAFLD under Dr. Mohammad Kamrul Hasan. Outside of academics, Erick’s hobbies include Hiking, Going to the gym, going to the beach, riding a motorcycle, traveling, and trying new foods.

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RISE Scholar- Jose GarfiasJose Garfias

Jose is a senior majoring in chemistry at Cal State Dominguez Hills. In high school, he had an internship at UCLA and worked with sickle cell anemia where he gained an interest in biomedical research. Being the first in his family to attend college, he decided to join the RISE Program and work under the guidance of Dr. Kenneth Rodriguez at Dominguez Hills. He is currently conducting research in the chemistry field on exchanging inorganic compounds with organic compounds. Jose’s contribution toward the research project is through computational experimenting by using the Gaussian 09 program to gather data on the subject. After finishing his undergrad, he will use his experience to pursue a Ph.D. and further contribute to the field of biomedical sciences. On his down time, he loves playing his cello and spend quality time with his family.

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RISE Scholar- Melissa GuardadoMelissa Guardado

Melissa is a non-graduating senior at California State UDH pursuing a bachelor in cellular and molecular biology. She is very interested in the study of cancerous diseases, specifically in the development of new treatments to prevent the disease from spreading throughout the human body. After obtaining her undergraduate degree, Melissa wants to go attend into a Ph.D. program to apply the skills she learned to help further develop even better treatments for cancer diseases. In addition to her studies, Melissa is also a Captain of the CSUDH Dance Team. She also loves to exercise on her free time and do adventurous things.

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RISE Scholar- Jenna KnightJenna Knight

Jenna Knight is a transfer Junior at California State University, Dominguez Hills. She is expected to graduate in Spring 2020 with a degree in psychology with a focus in Neuropsychology. She is currently studying Performance Validity Tests and the validity of using undergraduates in non-clinical research under the supervision of Dr. Victor. After her graduation she would like to attend a Ph.D. program to study Neuropsychology with a focus in autism research. Although academics takes the majority of her time, when not working on school work, Jenna likes to be outside enjoying a game of disk golf and hanging out with her four nephews.

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RISE Scholar- Jocelyn Molina-MancioJocelyn Molina Mancio

Jocelyn Molina Mancio is a junior at California State Dominguez Hills pursing a bachelor degree in chemistry. She is working with Dr. Friedman at Charles Drew University studying the effects of nicotine in electronic cigarettes and high sugar levels in mice. She had the opportunity to intern at NASA and wants to further the presence of women in the STEM fields. Marie Curie inspired Jocelyn’s passion for chemistry and motivates her to continue her education. Researching fluorescence correlation spectroscopy ignited in her the desire to do more research that could help people and make new discoveries. In her spare time she loves to spend time with her family, go to church, and learn new things.

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RISE Scholar- Alondra PenaAlondra Pena

Alondra is a transfer student from Long Beach City College pursuing a degree in Cellular and Molecular biology. Alondra has not always known what she wanted to do in science, but she knew research always appealed to her. Through learning new techniques, while working with Dr. Singh at Charles Drew University, she has the chance to get hands on experience and gain a deeper understanding of the research world. With this, Alondra is determined to be the first in her family to get a degree in biology. When Alondra is not studying for class or working in the lab, she is enjoying new shows on Netflix or is at the gym.

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RISE Scholar- Stephanie TorresStephanie Torres

Stephanie Torres is a fourth-year student at California State University, Dominguez Hills majoring in psychology and minoring in behavioral science. Her parents both immigrated from Mexico and have worked tirelessly to support her through her education. She has always been fascinated with how the mind works and was inspired by a high school psychology teacher to pursue a career in this field. Since becoming a scholar in the RISE program, she has been accepted into the George Marsh Applied Cognition Laboratory under the mentorship of Dr. Rosen. Her interests include how technology, specifically social media, affect the mind. She is currently working with Dr. Norman, who is a mentor in the GMAC Laboratory, on his project on Workplace Aggression. She is also a part of the Toro Ambassadors Program and the Social Media Ambassador for CSUDH’s chapter of Psi Chi, the International Honor Society in Psychology. After graduating with her undergraduate degree, Stephanie plans on pursing a Ph.D in Media Psychology.

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RISE Scholar- Jason WilliamsJason Williams

Jason is a transfer student from Santiago Canyon College and is a recent addition to the RISE program. As a self-proclaimed technologist, Jason has an interest in all STEM subjects, but his love for the study of chemical reactions has brought him to Cal State Dominguez Hills to pursue a BS in Chemistry. Jason works in Dr. Patrick Still’s laboratory where they focus on discovering novel compounds that exhibit cytotoxicity against brain cancer contained in plant extracts from the tropical rainforest. Since Jason has been working in the Still Laboratory, he has gained experience in nuclear magnetic resonance techniques, high-pressure liquid chromatography, and mass spectroscopy. Jason’s ultimate goal is to become a Professor of Chemistry and conduct research in parallel with biotech/nanotech engineering. In Jason’s spare time he enjoys lifting weights, tutoring children and volunteering his time to the local public radio station, KPFK.

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