Name: Elizabeth Solis
Graduation Term: Spring 2021
CSI3 Undergraduate Program: STEM Scholars
Hobbies: I try to go to the gym or for a walk with a friend during the week to get some form of cardio. When I work, I enjoy listening to music and a true crime and comedy podcast. When I feel like lounging, I love watching horror movies or movies/shows that people recommended on streaming apps.
What is your current status?
I am a first year PhD student in the biology department at the University of New Mexico. As a researcher, I study the effects of venom in host metabolism. I am also employed as a teaching assistant (T.A.) through the program and I T.A. three lab sections of biology for pre-health majors. Lastly, I'm working towards receiving a teaching certificate that demonstrates I am able to teach college-level courses through the Graduate Teaching Academy at my institute. I'm hoping to utilize this certificate to apply for teaching positions (i.e. STEM workshops or preparation courses for students who are starting their first year in college) during the summer when I'm not working as a T.A.
What do you enjoy the most about your current status?
I found myself really enjoying T.A-ing. It was a difficult adjustment at first, because my T.A. position does more work than other T.A. positions, so ultimately I was juggling 3 different jobs. Once I got the hang of it, I found it very rewarding and had a lot of fun in the lab with my students.
If you could give your junior/senior year self any words of advice what would you say?
Learn to take proper breaks - I still struggle with this.
What has been one of the biggest lessons you have learned upon graduating?
Having a support group who is relatable and encouraging is very helpful to have as you face challenges. Your support group could be friends, family, mentors, or counseling support groups.
What keeps you motivated and positive throughout life’s hardships?
I have family and friends who understand and support me in the things I do. At the end of the day, I choose what's best for me and my well-being.
Is there anyone from the CSI3 programs you would like to thank or give a shout out to?
Noemi and Dr. Hamden!
Throughout my undergrad, I received endless support through STEM Scholars. The program offered a lot of resources (i.e financial support, career planning, and academic support) for minority students. Whenever I needed help, all I had to do was reach out and ask. I was never given "no" for an answer. It was either "yes" or "we can figure something out," and that meant a lot to me. I greatly appreciate everything Noemi and Dr. Hamden have done for students in the program to help us succeed. The program made a difference for me, and I'm glad I was able to be part of it.