I transferred into UC Berkeley in 1999 from De Anza Community College and graduated in 2002 with a degree in Integrative Biology. BSP helped connect me with the scientific community and, after I graduated, I was lucky enough to get a job as a museum scientist in the UC Berkeley Museum of Vertebrate Zoology. In the years since and with the help of BSP, I developed an undergraduate program at the museum that now provides opportunities for over 150 students each semester. In this past year, I was placed in a new job now where I’m the education and outreach coordinator for both the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology and Science@Cal.
Back in 1999, as a new transfer student to Cal, BSP provided an opportunity for community and a “home base” -- something I sorely needed! I wanted a chance to connect with other like-minded students; students from low-income backgrounds that also had to work while at Berkeley. BSP helped me feel less isolated in my circumstance. Before BSP, I felt like I wasn’t “good enough” for Berkeley.Participating in BSP not only set me up for success in academia, but it opened my eyes to the advantages and opportunities some successful students were exposed to before arriving at Berkeley.I no longer compared myself to students who seemed to be far ahead of me in the sciences. I realized that those students not only got where they were because they were smart and hard-working, but they also had many more years of exposure to actual science and had better resources than I. If I wanted to be that good, I had to work hard, be smart, but also tie into those same resources and have the patience with myself to “learn the ropes.”
Due to my experience as an undergrad at Berkeley, and my connection with BSP, I have committed myself to increasing diversity in the sciences through science education and outreach. For science to grow and truly serve the broader public, our new generations of scientists need to have diverse view points and need to be motivated to change the status quo. We need to make sure MORE students are exposed to the excellent resources and opportunities that set them up for success. I am committed to creating opportunities and science experiences for all students who are excited to learn. Thanks to BSP for being my inspiration!