Working towards a sustainable future
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Student: Grecia V. Gratacós

Grecia 2013

Name: Gratacós-Velázquez, Grecia V.

Hometown: Las Piedras, Puerto Rico

Institution: University of Puerto Rico

Campus: Mayaguez Campus

Rank: M.S.

Major: Chemistry

Expected date of graduation: May 2015

Degree: BS in Chemistry

USDA Agency of interest: USDA-ARS Beltsville Maryland



Career experience/location:

Worked in a reseach internship at the USDA-ARS Maryland under the supervision of Dr. Robert Li and of Dr. Talo Pastor-Corales.


Description of career experience (what I learned):

I worked in the identification of soybean rust and rust resistance in common bean plants. Genome-sequencing and DNA-isolation were some of the main topics learned during the summer.


What is your perception of agriculture now?

Agriculture is the vein of a socio-cultural and economic growth in the world. It is important because it determines the future of a country’s development.


How has this career experience broadened your employment opportunities?

I had the opportunity in seeing first hand the importance of agriculture and research in agricultural related fields. This experience has broadened my professional and personal knowledge. I have learned techniques such as

PCR, DNA Extraction, DNA Sequencing, and Rust evaluation in the common bean plant.


Career and research aspirations:

I aspire to finish my M.S. in analytical/food chemistry within the next two years and find a job at the USDA-ARS in Beltsville Maryland or any other location. In 5-7 years I would like to go back to school and finish my PhD and

eventually return to USDA-ARS to work and serve future generations of young scientist and mentor them into pursing a career in agricultural related sciences.


Skill Set:

Bilingual-English/Spanish -Surface Enhanced Raman Scattering- Analyticl Chemistry-Microbiological Techniques- cGMP’s- Food Quality and Assurance- Amateur Molecular Chemistry- Food Chemistry-Nanotechnology-

Leadership skills-Computer Skills: Word/PowerPoint/Excel.


The impact of my career experience:

The reseach experiences at the USDA-ARS has given me the necessary skills to become a competent scientist in the near future. The opportunity in Beltsville Agricultural

Research Center has equiped me with knowledge in the areas of molecular biology, food chemistry and environmental chemistry, allowing me to diversify myself as a

scientist. In the near future I plan on finishing my MS in Analytical Chemistry and long term plans y will pursue a PhD in agricultural/food chemistry. Hopefully this will

equip me with the necessary skills to obtain a job with the Department of Agriculture.


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