“Several mentors have made a lasting impact on my life. At age 16, I was in a car accident that left me homebound. A high school teacher, Renae Allen at Lake Butler High School, took it upon herself to bring science projects and classwork to me so that I could stay engaged in learning outside the classroom setting. Her efforts were influential in my pursuit of science and further education.
I began college as a chemistry major at USF. I wanted to do science research, but the environment at USF wasn’t welcoming for me. My Dad suggested I look into the B.A.S in Biotechnology at Santa Fe College. I knew immediately after touring the Perry Center labs that it was the right fit for me.
I loved the atmosphere, the way labs are set up allows students to hone their skills through performing tests, not just reading concepts in a book. Faculty were accessible and open, this allowed students, including myself, to ask questions when we did not comprehend a topic or concept.
Associate Professor Alejandra Maruniak’s support and encouragement shaped my decision to intern in Brazil. This was my first trip to another country, where I discovered how science is applied to problems internationally. Once I landed in Brazil I could just “feel” a difference. The culture, food and way of life in some ways are similar and yet vastly different. I would say that I found a part of myself in Brazil.
I am pursuing an M.S. in Biology while working in synthetic biology for the Foundation for Applied Molecular Evolution (FfAME). I enjoy being able to conduct research in a lab that can make a difference one day, pushing the boundaries of what is possible in science. I would like to start researching biofuels and agricultural methods to help improve the quality of life in the developing world. Someday I hope to give back by modeling the behaviors of those who have guided me to focus my passion.”
- Clay Abraham, B.A.S. Biotechnology