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The reason why I aspire to be a physician-scientist began when I was just sixteen years old in my junior year of high school. From my science classes, I came to the conclusion that it is safe to say not only do we strive to understand what maintains us as a species, but what can threaten our existence. Such an endeavor is what first captivated me in regards to the microbial sciences, as well as my first experiment with the pGLO plasmid. I created my first genetically modified organism, made it fluoresce, against its very nature. It was in observing my positive, glowing result that I had found a light I refused to be let snuffed out.
In my freshman year of university, I set out to span the entirety of my field, curious about what environmental microbiology entailed, as I have been biased towards medical research as a result of my high school program. I was given this opportunity by Dr. Angela Smilanich, and assisted her in research concerning ecoimmunology, and discovering the relationship between the invertebrate immune system and diet. Multiple projects were included, however my responsibility was to determine a lethal dose (LD50) using Bacillus thuringiensis on buckeye caterpillar population.
However, it was not until I had the good fortune of being selected for the Ronald E. Mcnair Post-baccalaureate Achievement Program, a program designed to prepare first-generation, underrepresented students like myself for graduate education, that I solidified my interests in infectious diseases and bacterial pathogenesis. As a McNair scholar, I have had the opportunity to design and conduct original research under close faculty membership. Under the guidance of Dr. Paul Sumby, I am now conducting research aimed towards "Region of Difference 2" ("RD2"), a 36.3 kilobase region whose encoded proteins play a role in virulence. My current research project is to determine whether RD2 or single nucleotide polymorphisms play a role in the adherence phenotype of M28 group A Streptococcus to human vaginal epithelial cells.
Though I have previous research experience within my own university, I wish to explore other fields, specifically molecular and cellular biology, and do so within a university with leading, prominent scientists in their field.
With skills conducive to my field such as bioinformatic comparative analysis, performing polymerase chain reactions, DNA sequencing and analysis, bacterial plating, as well as standard laboratory bench techniques (e.g. aseptic procedure, microscopy, etc.), I am entirely capable of learning more. Of course, I realize that just as my interests have evolved from high school, they will continue to progress further into subjects I may not be able to currently comprehend. However, as I venture into physician shadowing for the next two years, tutoring for the sciences, continue with volunteering for the underserved community through harm reduction, present at academic research symposiums and pursue first author publication, I feel as if I am coming closer than ever to bridging the gap between physician and scientist, from bedside to the bench.

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Josette’s Qualifications

Education & Certification

Undergraduate Degree: University of Nevada-Reno - Bachelor of Science, Microbiology and Immunology

Test Scores

GRE: 302


Anything Microbiology!

Tutoring Subjects



Cell Biology

College Biology


Genetic Engineering

High School Biology



Medical Terminology






Spanish 1

Spelling Bee

Study Skills

Study Skills and Organization


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