Student: Maria Isabel Morales, Ana Cecilia Barrios
Name: Barrios, Ana Cecilia
Hometown: El Paso, TX
Institution: University of Texas at El Paso
Campus: El Paso
Expected date of graduation: May 2015
Degree: Master of Science in Chemistry
USDA Agency of interest: USDA-FSIS
Worked in a reseach lab at the University of Texas at El Paso under the supervision of Dr. Jorge Gardea-Torresdey.
Description of career experience (what I learned):
I worked analyzing the physical and biochemical changes produced by cerium oxide nanoparticles in edible plantssuch as tomato and cilantro. ICP-MS and ICP-OES, among
other techniques were used to quantify the micro and macro nutrients as well as metals in plant tissues.
What is your perception of agriculture now:
Agricultural knowledge is key to our survival. By learning about the newest technological advances we can increase the production of crops and produce food with better
How has this career experience broadened your employment opportunities:
I learned how to use Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectroscopy for the analysis of various elements found in the plant tissues. Knowing these techniques
can potentially help me obtain a job at FSIS.
Career and research aspirations:
I am determined to finish my M.S. in analytical and environmental chemistry within the next two years and later on my Ph.D. All of this will hopefully be accomplished
within the next 2-5 years. I would like to find a job at the USDA-FSIS and in the next 10 years become an established scientist in the agricultural field and help other students
fulfill their careers.
Bilingual-English/Spanish-proficient in X-Ray Fluorescence- Inductively Coupled Plasma Optical Emission Spectroscopy- communication-leadership skills-data base
management-Synchrotron sample analysis
The impact of my career experience:
The research experience provided by the USDA has given me the required training and has helped me developed the skills to become an independent and competent
scientist in the next years to come. Working with recognized scientists around the nation and with state-of-the-art instrumentation, the research project has not only
become an idea, but also, a reality. I have learned to use various analytical techniques and employ them to my research and to other agricultura-related fields. All of these
opportunities will prepare me to become a skilled and proficient when looking for an USDA job. My long term goals are to find a research position at an USDA agency,
specially FSIS.By being involved in this research I have an idea of what the USDA is looking for and all the hard work that I must complete to fulfill my long term goal.
Working with the right people, in the right environment are key to success and all these experiences have motivated me to continue working and thrive to accomplish a
greater goal: to fluorish among the scientific community, help other hispanics and obtain a job at the USDA.