This year, Soraya Sandoval has participated in the UA's Undergraduate Research Opportunities Consortium (UROC), which consists of several research programs that help underrepresented, low-income, or first-generation students obtain the skills necessary to succeed in graduate school. Soraya was part of the year-long Ronald E. McNair Achievement Program, a federally funded TRO program aimed towards preparing its scholars towards a doctoral degree.
After completing a literature review course in Srping 2019, Soraya formulated a feasible summer research project on how three mutations found in a muscle regulatory protein called Myosin binding protein C, changed the protein's binding properites to muscle filaments, myosin, and actin. These findings will help to identify how these mutations are causing inherited skeletal myopathies. Soraya found that since she was able to devote all her ltime this summer to her research project, she was able to learn more procedures and assays to help her become an independent researcher. Soraya has decided to continue this project as her senior thesis, and she is considering continuing a similar topic in graduate school.
As a McNair scholar, Soraya presented her summer research projectj at the National McNair Conference at UCLA. She and her cohort gave an oral presentation to other McNair scholars from across the nation, and she learned about other research being performed at other institutions.
Soraya says that being part of the Ronald E. McNair Program has allowed her to grow into a confident and independent researcher, and she highly recommends it to other underrepresented, low-income, or first-generation students. She found that this experience allowed her to grow both as a scientist as well as an individual. Soraya is excited about continuing to do research in graduate school and beyond, and she is now prepared to pursue a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cellular Biology.