Sandra Guauque-Olarte

Professor and researcher

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Everything is possible if you try enough.

What do you do?

I am a professor at UCC in Colombia, I teach biochemistry and research courses to dental and medical undergrad students. I like to show them how research can improve the quality of life of the people and its importance for the advancement of the clinical management of patients. I also do research in cardiovascular diseases and their link to periodontitis. I am a self trained bioinformatician and I support other researcher's projects mainly in cancer.

Why did you choose this field?

My father love encyclopedias, science and medical books, and discovery Channel documentaries about dinosaurs, the space, health and Jacques Cousteau. I wanted to be an astronaut. As a teenager I heard that biologist can work at NASA, so I decided to study Biology. During my undergrad studies I met genetics and molecular biology and I fell in love with it, specially because I understand that by doing research in human and molecular genetics I could apport to improve the health and quality of life of people. I still want to travel to the space, maybe I can do it in the future. For now I am happy with my career path.

What do you look at and think, "I wish younger me would have known this was possible"?

I would like to know more about the access to scholarships. There are many scholarships for doing a master, PhD, undergrad interchanges, I would apply younger if I would know that they exist. I could do my Master and PhD through scholarships, it would not be possible for me to afford graduate studies without them.

Why do you love working in STEM?

I love the challenge of solving different problems everyday and I never get bored while doing research. There is always something new to learn. I do not like monotony and by being in STEM I learn, change and grow up every day.

Best advice for next generation?

Think that you can do everything and learn everything you want and that you can achieve all your goals by working hard, studying, using internet to learn if you cannot afford to pay a school or a class. Find a mentor in your school, neighborhood, among your family or community, through internet (professors in universities or academy associations) there is always someone who wants to help others. Everything is possible if you try enough.

Inspo quote / fun fact / role model

"Imagination is more important than knowledge" and "A person who never made a mistake never tried anything new" Albert Einstein

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