Grecia M. Alvarez Hernandez’s studies at the University of Puerto Rico (UPR) inspired her career path to become a biologist, but studying at a university still ravaged by the lingering effects of Hurricane Maria has been challenging. “Our labs were the most affected of all in the science department, which has put me and my classmates behind in the learning process,” she says. “We lost a great amount of materials in the lab. Our professors and the faculty have been doing their best in trying to make our learning process as normal as it can be, but it still has been a struggle to recover.”
Then Alvarez Hernandez began her week of lab work at U-M in May, visiting as part of a program called Developing Future Biologists (DFB), a U-M graduate-student-led educational outreach organization. She dissected, windowed, and analyzed in state-of-the-art laboratories. Students from Michigan universities and from UPR attended the program, and many of them said the experience solidified their plans to earn advanced degrees in biology.
“The opportunity has made my vision of what I see myself doing in the future less blurry,” Alvarez Hernandez says.