Ariana Medrano works in the genomics and molecular genetics lab at MSU.
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International Spartan Spotlight: Ariana Angarita Medrano
Ariana Angarita Medrano was born in Bolivar, Venezuela. Her introduction to the science of genetics happened at a very young age when her aunt, bioanalyst Clemencia Medrano, showed her the work she performed at the laboratory.
Her passion and curiosity for the field led her to study genomics and molecular genetics at Michigan State University. During her sophomore year Ariana received an email from the Department of Molecular Genomics and Genetics. There was a lab opening, and Ariana applied. Though Ariana had no previous experience in a lab setting, Dr. Andrea Amalfitano welcomed Ariana with open arms. "I didn't know if they would hire me. I felt accepted."
Ariana believes that stepping out of her comfort zone and going beyond her assigned tasks helped her achieve. "I started as lab volunteer, but I think that experiences are what you make of them. I could have just kept that job and do the autoclaving, then do the dishes and leave," said Ariana. "Instead, I decided to ask questions to the researchers."
MSU provides many opportunities for undergraduate research and is the home for world-class research centers that attract an international community of scientists. "The fact that I knew that I could volunteer or be a research assistant made me want to be a Spartan," said Ariana. "My studies go beyond what you learn in the classroom. It's conducting real science."
Since she joined the lab team Ariana has advanced from a lab assistant to a research assistant. Now she conducts many hands-on experiments that generate important data in her field, including gene sequencing. "My experience in Dr. Amalfitano's lab helped me be sure of my future career path. I know that I want to do the work of the researchers in my lab."
In addition to excelling in a STEM field, Ariana is also leader in the international Spartan community. She is part of the Council of Racial and Ethnic Students (CORES) and Council of Progressive Students (COPS). She is also a representative for the MSU International Students Association where she works to advocate on behalf of more than 7,000 international students and scholars at MSU.