2017 Tillman Scholar
As the daughter of two Mexican immigrants, Laura knew first-hand the importance of serving her family and community. She grew up translating for others and helping her community, all while investing in her own education. As the first in her family to graduate high school and then college, Laura prioritizes serving underrepresented minorities, especially those in STEM. Between advocating for Latinas during her academic career or volunteering to translate letters for charity, Laura is inspired by the way education can promote growth.
Her commitment to help is evident through her dedication to neuroscience research. Interested in neuropsychiatric disease, Laura graduated with a degree in Neuroscience and Spanish. She chose to pursue neuroscience research because she wanted to better understand the brain and to develop safer, more effective therapeutics for patients. As a Ph.D. candidate, Laura became interested in helping patients who suffered from traumatic brain injuries (TBIs). Currently, Laura is developing a new model of post-traumatic headache, a migraine-like pain which commonly occurs after a mild TBI. She is exploring a new drug target for these mTBI-induced headaches and aims to better serve patients who have suffered from a TBI.
After completing her Ph.D., Laura plans on applying her skills and knowledge to the military. With the support from her wife, she intends on establishing a scientific career as a naval scientist, where she can be at the forefront of scientific research, be the main contributor in developing next-generation medicine and be a role model for women.