My name is Jessica Rivera and I am 17 years old. I attend Savanna High School and I will soon be a senior there. Ever since I was a little girl, I have always had a great interest in S.T.E.M. related fields and areas of study. Mathematics is the one of the main areas of study that interests me the most. I enjoy spending a numerous of hours working on math problems and equations. In addition, I am also fascinated by other science fields as well. It is amazing to see how both academic fields are significant to the world around us. Overall, by engaging myself with both the mathematics and the sciences, I am able to gain a much greater interest and passion for both areas of studies.

During the school year, I am incredibly busy managing my school work, clubs, sports, and other extracurricular activities. I devote my free time tutoring underprivileged students and serving the community around me. It is because of the many hardships and disadvantages that I as a student have had to face that motivate me to give back to the community where I grew up. Furthermore, because of my busy schedule during the school year, during the summers I take advantage of the many wonderful activities that I can only complete over break. For instance, I have been given the opportunity to spend my past summers exploring specific S.T.E.M. related fields. I have had the chance to participate in residential programs at universities such as Stanford University, University of California Irvine, California State University Fullerton, and Fullerton College. Overall, I am definitely incredibly grateful for knowledge and experience that I have gained because of these amazing summer programs.

I am glad to be part of the HHMI Summer Research program at Cal State Fullerton. I am so thankful for this amazing opportunity and for the wonderful experience that is yet to come. Because of this program, I am able to gain a much better understanding of the biochemistry field and deepen my knowledge. I am extremely excited to be able to conduct my own research with a group of college students and teachers and along with the supervision of Dr. Meyer and Dr. Barbara Gonzalez. Overall, in the future I hope to be able to attend a four-year university and have the chance to meet and work along with people with different points of view. I dream of being able to have the opportunities that my family dreams of and works so hard for. I dream of taking full advantage of the opportunities that come my way.