Student: Elena M. Flores-Vélez
Name: Elena M. Flores-Vélez
Campus: University of Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus
Rank: Ph.D. Graduate Student, Second year. Teaching and Research Assistant
Major: Applied Chemistry
Internship: Summer 2012 at UPRM. Continued research from previous semester in order to improve the results for further publication.
Narrative: I am from a small southwestern coastal town in Puerto Rico named Cabo Rojo. Since it is a rural town I developed an appreciation and interest on environmental and agricultural sciences. I became specifically concerned on the contaminants and diverse array of pollutants that affect the water sources and the environment. These interests led me to obtain a BS in Chemistry at the University on Puerto Rico, Mayaguez Campus. I became part of the CETARS program at my senior year, when the program was at its beginnings. Yet, it encouraged me to obtain a certification of the curricular sequence Food Science and Technology program of the Department of Agriculture at UPRM which gave me the hands on experience of applying chemical concepts in the agriculture and food safety and technology. Also, by being part of the CETARS program I became interested with the outreach activities in collaboration with the GLOBE program in which students form K to 12 and teachers were instructed about hydrology and soil protocols. Moreover, my research experiences, laboratory courses and outreach activities raised my awareness of the importance of environmental and food chemistry. Therefore, in order to become a better professional I decided to continue PhD in environmental chemistry with the support of the CETARS program.
Skills: Personally, I have enhanced my leadership skills by becoming actively involved in the CETARS program as well as in the ACS-UPRM Chapter. In both I have participated in activities like giving demonstrations to kids and adults on how chemistry is involved in daily tasks. As well, my interests in analyzing problems and helping others lead me to tutor students studying General Chemistry from 2008 to 2009 at the UPRM. I have also, joined the work-and-study program in which I have noticed my ability to organize my time and set priorities within the classes, laboratory research and work schedule as well as time for social and family oriented activities.
Short Term Goals: My short term goals include finishing with excellence my PhD graduate studies. To present my PhD proposal and to acquire as much experience in research, internships, and other areas to become a quality professional.
Long Term Goals: My long-life goal is to continue working for the remediation of environmental problems to ensure agricultural safety. However, I also expect to have a challenging and honorable job in which my studies and efforts can be utilized.
Research and/or Outreach project: Research
As part of the CETARS program in UPRM I have participated in serval research projects at the undergraduate and graduate levels. As a senior undergraduate student my research project titled: Interfacial binding of arsenic antimicrobials onto bimetallic iron/silver nanocomposites. This project employed metal polymer nanocomposites as SERS substrates to determine the potential of nanoscale iron particles to serve as sequestering agents for trace arsenic antimicrobials in water.
As part of the CETARS program, in both undergraduate and graduate programs of UPRM, I have participated in the GLOBE Program preparation workshops to perform outreach activities at public schools on summer and fall 2012. These activities include participating in soil and hydrology workshops and demonstrations for school teachers and K-12 students.