University of Puerto Rico,
Rio Piedras Campus
Medical Student
monica.alexandra.01@gmail.com

I’m currently a medical student at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras Campus. While finishing my Bachelor’s degree (BS) in Chemistry I’ve been immersed in the vast world of Natural Sciences. My ultimate goal is to study Medicine and then pursuing a career in forensic pathology. My studies have allowed me to gain knowledge about the different branches that compose the Natural Sciences. Toxicology is particularly the inter-disciplinary science that has sparked interest in me because it’s the union of Chemistry, Biology and Medicine, subjects all related to my goals. This field studies the unfavorable effects of chemical, biological or physical agents on living organisms. It’s essential in our daily lives because chemicals are always present in the environment and we must be aware of the level of exposure the human body can bear because every substance in excess can be harmful to our health.

Research is important because it has shaped the way we live. This is due to the fact that discoveries made in it have been integrated to certain aspects of our daily lives such as our commodities, health and food. I’m currently working in the Center for Environmental and Toxicological Research laboratory with a group of researchers and Dr. Braulio Jiménez. Carrying out research in this field has been great because I get to inquire, notice and know more about how nanoparticles found in the Saharan Dust affect the quality of air in the Caribbean thus affecting the health of the Puerto Rican population. The effects of these particles are being investigated with reference to several diseases such as asthma and cardiovascular harms. I am currently working with an MD student and a professor investigating this phenomenon.

Before attending college, I played an active role in many student associations such as the National Honor Society, Interact Club, History League and I was also school newspaper editor. I also had the opportunity to be class president for three years, experience which allowed me to develop my leadership skills. During this time I was ambassadress for the Knights of Columbus Bayamón council where I was able to carry out charitable acts such as visiting homes of abused women. Now in college I’m a member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars. I also play an active role in the American Chemical Society Rio Piedras Student Chapter seeing as how I was treasurer for a year and I’m currently a vocal. This has allowed me to participate in chemistry festivals, conventions, demonstrations, and shows that convey the message of how important Science is in our daily lives without us noticing. I had the opportunity to be a volunteer in the IUPAC Congress held in PR during the International Year of Chemistry where I was able to come into direct contact with the scientific community and even see Nobel Prize Winners.