Student Spotlight: Going Places

I could not be more proud of the outcomes this journey has provided me and the prosperous future which lays ahead… I have had several job offers, but I also connected with potential Ph.D. mentors at Scripps Research Institute, one of the world´s top research institutions,” shares Cesar Rivas, a PSM Business Biotechnology candidate. 

cesar rivasHow did you discover what you wanted to do professionally and/or academically?

Discovering what I wanted to do didn’t come overnight. At first, I wanted to become a physician who specialized in orthopedic surgery. My passion has always been to help others, and clinical medicine is how I thought I wanted to fulfill that passion. Taking Dr. Binninger’s Genetics lecture was like peeking into the future, and I was mesmerized by the endless possibilities which Genomics provides. One class he discussed CRISPR and other gene editing tools which went on like a light bulb in my head. The future of medicine will be personalized medicine. From that day forward, I decided that I wanted to become a molecular biologist who would help discover or perfect novel methods of curing diseases via personalized medicine. 

Why did you decide to pursue the Professional Science Masters (PSM) in Business Biotechnology?

I learned about the PSM program through Dr. David Binninger, associate professor of Biological Sciences. After learning about it, I decided that the PSM program could help me have greater global impact in curing diseases related to genetic mutations. Also, the PSM has an excellent track record of successfully preparing scientists for the professional arena and preparing its students to gain acceptance into top research institutes. Dr. Binninger helped us envision the future of personalized medicine and how the leading Biopharmaceuticals are researching and utilizing molecular biology and cell biology to implement novel cures to otherwise deadly diseases. 

How did the PSM program help you?

The PSM program exposed me more profound levels of science, and it allowed me to take courses in the College of Business, which helped me understand how the business of research is conducted. One of the most significant challenges scientists face today is funding. The business classes taught me how to raise capital to ensure proper financing of projects and how to be successful given the competitive nature of the business world. I was allowed to take classes alongside FAU´s MBA students, which taught me the importance of networking and how to conduct myself professionally. This, I believe, makes me a more desirable candidate for both professional employment and a more robust Ph.D. Candidate.

What do you wish you had known on day one at FAU?

FAU is filled with great mentors and resources to help students flourish. From day one, I wish I would have known that as an undergraduate student, you could join a research lab and gain invaluable experience. The Office of Undergraduate Research and Inquiry (OURI) pairs students with faculty to participate in actual research. The knowledge I have gained from the research lab has helped me become a much better scientist and has fully prepared me for the challenges seen in the professional workplace. 

A word of wisdom for our Biological Sciences majors 

For all of you Owls out there, my word of wisdom is always dream big and never give up on those dreams. I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes, “all our dreams can come true, if we have the courage to pursue them” - Walt Disney.