Vanessa Lizeth Garcia, Master of Science in Chemistry, 13’
What are you doing now?
I am currently a Senior Laboratory Instructional Specialist at The University of Texas at Brownsville in the Chemistry and Environmental Science Department. I am a full-time laboratory instructor to introductory, general, organic chemistry and biochemistry chemistry laboratory sections, including assisting with the preparation of lab materials and equipment for experiments, maintenance of lab inventories and assisting in the chemistry stockroom. Other responsibilities include setting up and grading examination, quizzes, lab reports, and participating in outreach programs and student orientations.
What are your career goals?
I look forward to helping students understand a science that is known to be an intimidating subject and motivate them to purse a degree in chemistry. In the future, I want to obtain my Ph.D or go into Veterinary Medicine to obtain a D.V.M.
What has your UTPA graduate education done for you?
My graduate education has blessed me to apply my research and academic experience to many different fields and broadened my outlook on many situations. It taught me to question everything and assume nothing. The faculty and staff were very helpful from the start. Having former industry experience, my graduate education added more curiosity to my already curious mind. On a personal level, I gained more self-confidence, learned the value of a hard day’s work, and know there is no limit to my potential.
How do you feel about your UTPA experience?
I felt the sense of dedication and commitment while attending UTPA. I drove on a daily basis from Brownsville to Edinburg for two years out of the three, while I obtained my masters. It was not easy but I knew what goal I had to reach and if driving for two hours (to and from) was one of the obstacles then so be it. I made many new friends, experienced different challenging opportunities, and made awesome memories while attending UTPA.
Best tip(s) for success?
Word hard, play later. You’ll spend more time at school, in the lab, and in the library than in your own home, but never forget the goal in mind especially during the final stretch of the race. Make every memory count because it comes and goes in an instant. Ask a lot of questions. Exercise on a daily basis.
Do you have any advice for prospective graduate students?
If graduate school makes you cry, then it is being done correctly. There will be tears of joy and tears of frustration, but in the end it will be worth the long nights, stressful seminars, and endless hours in the lab and library. Be aware of deadlines. Take advantage of all the resources available. Become a better you, not striving to be better than everyone else.