2014 Equity Intern: Ariadna Covarrubias Ornelas

Ornelas_Ariadna_1_150Ariadna Covarrubias Ornelas has a passion for science, learning and volunteer work, which she demonstrates through her continued involvement in OHSU lab research. She is currently attending Portland State University (PSU) majoring in Biochemistry, with a minor in Japanese, and is a returning Summer Equity Research Intern.

During the summer of 2013, Ariadna worked with Dr. Andrey Ryabinin and Dr. Juan Gomez investigating the ability of ghrelin antagonist to decrease alcohol consumption in mice. "Most of the time, I assisted in data collection and input into an Excel file for later statistical analysis at the conclusion of the experiment," Ariadna says. She found the work enjoyable and remarks that the experience confirmed her desire to become a researcher.

Upon completing her internship, Ariadna sought out a way to continue working in Dr. Ryabinin's lab. She volunteered two-to-three days per week during the rest of the year while continuing her studies at PSU. Ariadna sliced brains from mice that were dependent on alcohol so they could be used for observation in the study.

With a long list of volunteer and leadership roles, Ariadna also finds time outside of the lab to continue learning and contributing. She volunteered with Adelante Mujeres, a grassroots organization in Forest Grove, Oregon that empowers Latina women through education and building leadership capacity. Ariadna participated in the Adelante Chicas club, and took the lead on coordinating an informational event about Deferred Action.

Additionally, Ariadna also participates in the Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP), a program that enhances the education of underrepresented minority students going into STEM fields. She is able to be part of a learning community and interact with peers of diverse backgrounds, which her recommenders say she does with ease.

Ariadna is back in the lab this summer as she returns to OHSU in the competitive Summer Equity Research Program. She is working in the Behavioral Neuroscience department again, this year with research mentor Kari Buck, Ph.D. Ariadna says that in addition to being a researcher, she also wants to someday work as a professor. "I believe that it would be an additional reward to teach what you are passionate about."

Currently, she is working on analyzing brain slices that were exposed to ethanol vapor for 72 hours in order to investigate the involvement of oxidative stress in alcohol withdrawal syndrome.

If you'd like to learn more about the Summer Equity Internship Program, email David Martinez, Manager of Student Recruitment and Retention.

Posted on July 9, 2014. Write-up by Jillian Toda. Photo by Maileen Hamto.