San Gabriel Mission High School Alumna, Angelica Carmona, Class of 2013 recently graduated from Mount Saint Mary’s University, Los Angeles with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry. While at the Mount, she was the recipient of the W. M. Keck Foundation Endowed Scholarship. In talking with this accomplished alum, Angelica credits her high school math and chemistry teacher, Dr. Marielle Sallo, “who was a strong advocate for women and minorities in STEM,” with helping her decide to pursue a STEM degree.
According to Angelica, “when I started my undergraduate education, my educational goal was to go to medical school and become a pediatrician.” A semester later, “I believe that my career goal changed for the better, and will entail something that I am extremely passionate about. I never would have pictured myself in a laboratory wearing a lab coat, safety goggles, gloves, and conducting research. Now I find myself being a research enthusiast and finding an excuse to be in the lab and doing what I love most – science- and presenting my findings at several regional and national research conferences.”
Her research started her freshmen year and by her senior year, Angelica served as the Head Peer Mentor of the research lab she was part of. Her research consisted of “synthesizing a novel phosphorus-based surfactant as a more environmentally friendly alternative for oil spill clean-ups.” This research experience definitely reassured her she was on the right path, doing research. In the Spring of 2018, Angelica will be attending Texas Tech University to obtain her PhD in Pharmaceutical Sciences. She will be “conducting research and studying a rare pediatric neurodegenerative disease called Batten’s disease.” She hopes to “help contribute to the discoveries and new technologies that will help save lives and provide innovative solutions to complex diseases.”
Besides her impressive research at the Mount, Angelica also has been involved in other research. She had the opportunity to participate in the Eugene and Ruth Roberts Summer Academy at the City of Hope and for the past two years she has served as a Title III STEM Grant Peer Mentor and Tutor. As a mentor and tutor, Angelica was able to “provide tutoring services in Chemistry and Biology and assisted underclassmen with transitioning into college.” She was also a part of the STEM Recruitment and STEM Speaker Series. According to Angelica, “in being part of these committees, I was able to attend local high schools (including Mission) middle schools, and elementary schools to bring STEM awareness to students, most of whom were inner-city minorities underrepresented in the STEM fields. “ In addition, Angelica spearheaded a Research Presentation Training Program where she taught university underclassmen the foundation they would need in order to be successful in their research lab projects, including proven techniques to present their research with poise and professionalism.
I am a young woman of Depth and Integrity; both these moral values were infused in my high school education, but redefined during my tenure in the Bay Area. I was placed in a university environment that contradicted its purpose and mission: to preach diversity, social equality, and serve world communities. In the midst of the most challenging time in my life, my surroundings cemented my fervency in social awareness, activism, and justice for the voiceless. I am indebted the Mission values of Depth and Integrity that inspired a strong sense of reverence for all individuals and thirst for the truth in any given situation. These values will infinitely be a part of my purpose to spread global equality and thirst to change the world.