2014 Equity Intern: Gisela Gonzalez-Montiel

Gonzalez-Montiel_Gisela_150A commitment to serving her community is what drives Gisela A. Gonzalez-Montiel, a current student at University of Portland studying chemistry and mathematics. She aspires to work in a laboratory and has already had several experiences to start her research career.

During her sophomore year of high school, Gisela had an internship through the Apprenticeships in Science and Engineering (ASE) Program. It was through this work that Gisela gained lab experience, working with chamomile flowers to determine which chemicals killed bacteria. The following summer, Gisela worked at OHSU in the Division of Radiation and Cancer Biology. She worked with various proteins and database management, garnering an interest in molecular biology.

Gisela says she wants to gain more experience so she can narrow her field of interest. This summer, Gisela is working with research mentor Show-Ling Shyng, Ph.D., of the Biochemistry & Molecular Biology department as part of the Summer Equity Research program. She is examining the ion channel ATP-sensitive potassium in experiments to understand how mutations of the ion channel lead to diseases. To do this, Gisela has been tasked with conducting several protocols including electron microscopy (EM) grids and Western blots.

When asked about what she has learned through her work thus far, Gisela says that at first, her research seemed intimidating but now she knows that she can learn from any mistakes and not be afraid to ask for help. "Through asking questions, I now have confidence to believe in myself that I can work along professionals," says Gisela. "But the most important value I have learned is the hands-on experience of working in a laboratory doing research. As I continue on with this internship, I hope to further train myself in research skills that will help me in my future career."

Inside and outside of the lab, Gisela strives to make an impact. She has demonstrated her leadership abilities in her involvement with the Hispanic Youth Group at her church. Gisela also worked with another student to organize a Spanish book drive for Spanish-speaking children whose families would not have otherwise been able to get them.

"My life purpose is to make a difference where I live, in the community, and in the science field," Gisela says. "A single person can truly make a big difference and that is exactly what I plan to do."

To learn more about the Summer Equity Internship Program, contact David Martinez, Manager of Student Recruitment and Retention.

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