#MyBUILDsummer: CSUN BUILD PODER Students Share Summer Research Experiences

Share this posting on social media!

Contact Info: alina.adamian@csun.edu

By Kirsten Cintigo 

In summer 2021, students from BUILD PODER at California State University, Northridge participated in summer research programs. Four students shared their experiences and what they took away from their programs as part of BUILD PODER’s  #MYBUILDSUMMER social media campaign. 

BUILD PODER Scholar Johnny Vertiz

“I conducted my summer research at University of California, Davis through the BioGAP program. I learned a lot of Bioinformatics and learned the basics of using the programming language R. The topic for my research was using a variety of machine learning programs that would recognize the segmentation of individual neural crest cells. This was inspired by the long and tedious process of counting and distinguishing cells by eye. This experience has helped me realize how powerful certain computer applications are. Now, I'm looking for more ways to use my knowledge of R and other computer programs to come up with new ways to simplify certain science practices.” 

Johnny Vertiz Johnny Vertiz


BUILD PODER Scholar Kit Fong Cheung

“I conducted research this summer at University of California, San Diego through the STARS program. Working under Dr. Manon and Dr. Dutton in the Dutton Lab, I was able to learn R, presentation skills, data interpretation, and visualization of graphs. My research topic was inspired by the various microbial research on antibiotic resistance and gut health improvement through the studies of a potential probiotic, Akkermansia. After being in the lab and coming across an MD-PhD student, I became interested in pursuing an MD-PhD since I would be able to research ways of effectively manipulating or controlling microbial environments to benefit gut health and in other environments. As well as treating and discovering conditions affected by microbiomes and microbial health.” 

Kit Fong Cheung Kit Fong Cheung


BUILD PODER Scholar Oscar Juvera

“Although I was shy at the beginning of BUILD PODER’s Summer Jump Start, I quickly noticed how everyone was so welcoming and friendly. I was able to make new friendships with people that have different backgrounds but similar goals in life. My experience during this summer was beyond thrilling since I noticed that my cohort was more than a group of individuals wanting to become scientists, but rather a large family from which I could always rely on. Actively listening to other people and being able to provide them with helpful advice has certainly been a skill I gained in this program. Communication is such an important key in our everyday life which can be applied not only to school, family but also to work. Being this open-minded with my peers has allowed me to network with people around my research realm, thus allowing me to succeed in accomplishing my goals in life.” 


Oscar Juvera Oscar Juvera


BUILD PODER Scholar Shannon Arias Ortega

“I conducted my summer research at University of California, San Diego through the STARS program. My summer was based on writing a manuscript of the literature that has already been published on the damage that Alcohol Use Disorder causes on the blood-brain barrier. I was to put together this information for others studying this field to have easy access to the knowledge that is already out there. It was difficult and I often doubted myself. However, my Principal Investigator was wonderful. She gave me positive feedback and made me feel confident in my skills. This experience influenced my career goals by assisting me in realizing what research area I would like to pursue in the future. I was very undecided in the past but I would love to pursue neuroimmunology.” 

Shannon Arias Ortega Shannon Arias Ortega


The Diversity Program Consortium Coordination and Evaluation Center at UCLA is supported by Office of the Director of the National Institutes of Health / National Institutes of General Medical Sciences under award number U54GM119024.
Need Assistance? Please contact our support team: info@diversityprogramconsortium.org .