Valeria Martinez is an upcoming senior at Tyee High school in the fall of 2018. One of her academic interests includes biology which is the main reason why she applied for the internship at the Institute for Systems Biology. At the ISB, Valeria worked in the Baliga Lab and was under the mentorship of Eliza Peterson, Vivek Srinivas, Min Pan, and Deep Kaur. She worked with Ava Gehlen-Williams on the Mycobacterium tuberculosis project using CRISPRi-mediated (electroporation) gene silencing to control mtrA expression in Mycobacterium smegmatis in order to understand the regulatory targets of MtrA, an essential response regulator in Mycobacterium tuberculosis. After finishing high school she hopes to pursue a degree in the biology field and attend any university or college that can give her multiple lab opportunities to study neurology.
her participation and involvement with her school’s community helps to leave an impact
Valeria attends Tyee High school and has taken multiple AP classes to get a sense of college-level work. Along with academic studies, Valeria is part of various clubs and programs to build her STEM outreach as well as bridge connections with her community. In the eighth grade, she joined the Techbridge program and is now in her fourth year. The program encourages and works with girls to pursue careers in STEM fields through after-school programs and events. There she has learned basic coding skills, electrical and architectural engineering, and some chemical engineering. She found inspiration during a tour visit to the Allen Institute, where she learned about neuroscience research and enjoyed hands-on activities with researchers.
In addition to being part of the Techbridge girls program, Valeria is the vice-president of her school’s Interact Club which follows the motto of ‘Service Above Self’ and has lead community food, hygiene, and clothing drives to uphold this message. Beginning her Junior year, she has also been a member of her school ’s peer mentor program which strives to build community and interaction with incoming freshman at her high school. She has attended and had a voice in multiple meetings surrounding the renovation of the freshman hub building at the school, and hopes that it will be a place where the rising ninth graders feel welcome. Valeria hopes that her participation and involvement with her school helps to leave an impact in the community there, but also hopes to share her experience at ISB with other high schoolers who also want to pursue a career in STEM.
When she is not at school or doing community work, Valeria has multiple activities that draw from creativity. In her free time, she likes practicing the ukulele and guitar, writing new songs, as well as drawing in a sketchbook. These hands-on activities have helped her enormously when it comes to lab work and learning new skills. Not having previous lab work experience, everything that she has learned during the internship has been completely new and exciting. She is eager to learn more about unique STEM careers and hopes to work in a scientific lab like ISB’s and do research of her own in the future.