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I was doing independent research projects, presenting at conferences. It led to so many opportunities, including directly leading to me getting a graduate research fellowship.”

 

My ‘a-ha’ moment as a student: “I was taking a class Gerry Rechtenwald was teaching, and he put up a picture of a single living cell suspended in liquid by an invisible laser. I was hypnotized by this single cell floating and seeing how it responded when it was put under different stresses. It motivated me to get into the undergraduate research program in the Microscale lab.”

My Portland: “I spent most of my time outdoors. I rode my bike everywhere. I would spend my weekends backpacking in the summer and snowboarding in the winter. I could count on 30 days of snowboarding every winter. In town, I always loved going to the Park blocks. That’s such a special part of Portland State — a beautiful green park in the middle of the city, with people hanging out, playing music, and studying. Portland is just one of the most beautiful, lush places I’ve ever been.”

 

Return to the beginning of Chris Hinojosa's story

What I love about my job: “It’s a super creative environment with seemingly infinite resources. We’re working with the best equipment, surrounded by experts in medicine and biology. They’re doing really cool science, and I get to solve problems and give them the tools they need to do their research. I have to come up with creative solutions. It’s just really fun work.”

 

How Maseeh prepared me: “The undergraduate research opportunities were the most important. I was doing amazing research, things that many gradute students at other institutions don’t get to do.