My formal study of chemistry began during my early years of high school, and from the beginning I enjoyed and excelled within this subject area. Because I was in the first six places in the State Chemistry Olympiad, I had a chance to participate in the National Mexican Chemistry Olympiad. Preparing for the competition provided me not only valuable knowledge and experience, but also the confidence to devote myself to chemistry. My interest in chemistry grew into a true passion when I discovered the extremely noble application of drug discovery and development. With this resolution in mind, I decided to pursue a bachelor`s degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry at the University of Guanajuato.
After two years of undergraduate preparation, I became motivated to begin research. In addition to my coursework in which I maintained a GPA of 9/10, I got involved in multiple research projects to gain a more detailed view of the diverse areas of Chemistry. Prior to completion of my thesis work, I was one of only 25 students in all Mexico selected for the 2011 Latin America Summer Research Program (LASRP), designed to prepare students for graduate research opportunities. In LASRP I had the chance to participate in intensive research at the University of Arizona (UA) under the supervision of Dr. Christopher Hulme. After three months of hard work and dedication, two scientific publications were published from my summer work.
Then, I decided to return to UA to pursue a doctoral degree in Drug Discovery and Development in the same research group. One of the main obstacles to do this was an economical one. Because my mother does not work, and my father is a retired secondary school teacher, they were unable to afford even a few months of my expenses in the United States. I was able to obtain a CONACyT fellowship, however, from the government of Mexico to study by Ph.D. at the UA.
During my graduate studies, I obtained a 4.0 GPA and excelled in research. My study involves the generation of molecular diversity and the development of novel inhibitors of the androgen receptor for the potential treatment of castration-resistant prostate cancer. My research has led to six scientific publications before the end of my third year.
I struggled with a cultural shock and the initial lack of friends as an international student. I have been able to adapt myself to a new culture and have a social life. Academic challenges have been big during my journey, but my motivation to become a scientist that contributes to the world in the discovery of new therapeutics is bigger. Also, I will have the personal satisfaction to contribute to science. I also will be the first Ph.D. in my whole family.
We are proud to announce Guillermo Martinez-Ariza is one of the current LatPro Scholarship finalists. Vote for his essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column), click the ‘star’ just above comments section below, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.