Yuliia came to America from Ukraine to pursue a dream of becoming a research technician in molecular biology. After exploring colleges in New York, Boston, Washington D.C., she chose Howard Community College for its location between two major cities.
“I was fascinated by the facilities and services that HCC provides as well,” she says.
On her path towards a career in medical research, Yuliia participated in the undergraduate research program at HCC, and enrolled in anatomy and physiology, public health, and science classes. She also volunteered at Howard County General Hospital in the Acute Care Surgery pavilion.
As a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) student, Yuliia developed a relationship with mathematics professor Loretta Tokoly, who connected Yuliia with a summer internship at the University of South Carolina where she researched and reported on the effects of a heart hormone on kidney cells.
“It was my first experience working independently in a real research lab,” she adds. After her internship, Yuliia wrote a proposal that led to a grant from the American Physiological Society. Yuliia will be presenting this proposal at the Experimental Biology Meeting in San Diego in April 2020.
Yuliia also found time to get involved with student life at HCC, becoming the promotions assistant for the Student Program Board, one of three student organizations at the college. She had the opportunity to get involved with the National Association of Campus Activities (NACA) and serve as on a conference committee.
Scholarships, funded through the HCC Educational Foundation, provided some assistance in managing college costs, which is good because earning her associate degree is only the beginning for Yuliia. After graduating from HCC in spring 2020 she plans to pursue a bachelor’s and master’s degree.
“I will continue to do research in molecular biology,” she says, with plans to eventually pursue her doctorate in medicine.
Wherever you want to go, you can get there from here.