Rosita Saul decided to come to Chapman because she knew she would have many opportunities available to her and would be encouraged to chase them. As a senior biological science major with a concentration in molecular biology and a holocaust history minor on the pre-medicine track, she has taken full advantage of her college experience.
In her freshman year, she was fortunate enough to participate in the Global Medical Brigades trip to Panama. During her sophomore year, she was encouraged to apply to summer programs and took an internship at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. For her junior year, she engaged in both research and volunteer experiences at the University of California, Irvine (UCI).
To kick-off her senior year, this summer she is participating in the American Heart Association Summer Research Program at the University of California, San Diego (UCSD).
Q&A with Rosita
Q: How did you learn about this opportunity?
RS: “I learned about this opportunity through the ‘Summer Experience Opportunities’ word document sent in the Schmid weekly email.”
Q: What was the application/interview process like?
RS: “I think starting early was crucial for me. I made a list of the programs I wanted to apply to during interterm and also asked for letters of recommendation around that time. Luckily, most of my applications weren’t due until the beginning of March, giving me more time to work on updating my resume/CV and writing my application essays. As for the interview process, I found that interviewers just want to get to know you better as a person. They ask about your background, your laboratory experience, and want to see how knowledgeable you are about the subject matter. I would say that while it is important to be well versed in what the research is on and why you are interested in it, it is not crucial that you have a thorough understanding of all the concepts involved in the research. The point of the program is to participate in the research and learn from your experience, so during your interview I would recommend asking any question that you might have, questions are welcomed.”
Q: How has your Chapman experience prepared you for this opportunity?
RS: “My Chapman experience has prepared me for this opportunity by exposing me to rigorous coursework as well as improving my laboratory techniques. Additionally, my professors have been a tremendous force not only in encouraging me to apply to these programs but also in keeping up with me to see my progress. Furthermore, resources such as Career Advising have been extremely beneficial in sharpening up my resume and application and providing resources such as the ‘Summer Experience Opportunities’ list.”
Q: Tell us about the research you are working on.
RS: “The research focus is on hypertrophic cardiomyopathy or dilated cardiomyopathy and heart failure. My project focuses specifically on a protein, Nexilin, and its involvement in the formation and maintenance of T-tubules. The PI of my lab is Dr. Ju Chen and I am working with postdoctoral fellows Canzhao Liu, MD/Ph.D., and Simone Spinozzi, Ph.D. on this project.”
Q: What have you learned from your summer experience so far?
RS: “I’m learning all about the heart and how something as simple as a single protein might lead to significant diseases such as dilated cardiomyopathy and heart failure. Throughout my experience I’ve been able to see how interdisciplinary this research is as physics is essential to transform images into 2D graphs, biology and physiology are crucial to understanding the mechanics of the heart, and chemistry plays an important role in the analysis of ions, proteins, and lipids involved in the contractile functions of the heart.”
Q: What advice do you have to offer Schmid students who are looking to apply to research programs in the summer?
RS: “My advice would be to start the process as early as possible. Make sure to have your resume polished and definitely use the resources available to you such as our Career Advisor, Elisa Hernandez, or professors that can help mentor you throughout the process. You should make an effort to apply to all the experiences you are interested in. Start by making a list of requirements for each of the experiences you would like to apply to in order to keep track of deadlines and application requirements. Most importantly, ask for your letters of recommendation in advance and be aware of your deadlines!”
You can connect with Rosita at the links below!