Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Molecular Mysteries

Magazine article Diverse Issues in Higher Education

Molecular Mysteries

Article excerpt

Long before she gained any formal training about professional health care and the myriad jobs involved in delivering it, Dr. Cecelia I. Zurita-Lopez knew at a young age that she wanted to help other people.

Helping others could be as routine a gesture as opening a door for someone who needed assistance. During her teenage years, before high school graduation, it led to helping the rest of her family take care of her mom, who eventually died of cancer.

"She was taking 13 different drugs, sometimes just to reverse the impact of others," Zurita-Lopez recalled.

Those young experiences made her even more determined to pursue her dream of being a doctor, she says, until a teacher introduced her to the fascinating world of biomedical science and research.

A mystery bull' since childhood, doing real biomedical research complemented her enthusiasm for watching television mysteries. Bones, CSI, Elementary, and remakes of Sherlock Holmes are among mysteries on the list she ticks off as favorites.

Today, Zurita-Lopez finds many opportunities to pursue her desire to help others, regardless of the challenge. With zeal and focus, she pursues biomedical science research at California State University, Los Angeles. In that responsibility, she "really enjoys solving mysteries at the molecular level. I'm getting good at it more and more," she says with self-confidence and enthusiasm.

As passionate as she is about "solving molecular mysteries," Zurita Lopez shows an equal amount of enthusiasm for helping upcoming peers get their footing in a field of work still largely inaccessible to people like her.

In addition to having eight students conducting research in her lab at Cal State Los Angeles, she serves as the faculty adviser to the institution's Chemistry & Biochemistry Club. She also has more than 50 students combined in her Introduction to Biomolecules class and her Writing for Chemists class. …

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