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Rachell Rivera

Date Posted: Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Rachell Rivera, Bosco Lab, studentRachell Rivera, Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program (PREP) student in Bosco Lab is transferring to the Neuroscience PhD program at Stony Brook University in the fall. Rachell is interested in neuroscience research, focusing on neurodegenerative diseases and behavior implications of neurological changes to the human and animal systems. As a Latina, she desires to serve as a mentor to other Latinas aspiring to pursue careers in STEM, particularly in neuroscience. As a PREP student, Rachell has been responsible for researching an independent project, looking at the effects of amino acid modifications on possible pathological protein clumps in Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) / Frontotemporal dementia (FTD) disease models. She has also gained experience with oral and poster presentations and participating in seminars. 

Rachell joined the neurology community at UMass Chan nine months ago. She is from Valley Stream, New York with familial roots in Costa Rica and El Salvador, and graduated from Farmingdale State College with a bachelor’s in Bioscience. She earned research experience through Farmingdale’s Research Aligned Mentorship (RAM) Summer Research Institute (SRI) program, and the University of Wisconsin – Madison neurodegenerative diseases lab.  

Rachell is a first-generation STEM scholar and finds it rewarding to contribute to the research that will one day help serve the community she grew up in. 

Growing up, Rachell noticed a lack of representation in this field, and she is motivated to help bridge that gap by offering guidance, support, and encouragement to the next generation of Latina scientists which she wishes she had access to earlier in her journey. Rachell shares, “I have consistently pursued opportunities to help expand my skill set and embark on new challenges. I have grown professionally by actively seeking feedback, learning from my experiences, and applying new knowledge to improve my performance. Through these efforts, I have developed stronger communication skills, enhanced my problem-solving abilities, and become a more effective team player.” 

Rachell’s career choice has been influenced in seeing the impact of neurodegenerative diseases on individuals and their families. She seeks to understand the underlying mechanisms and explore potential treatments to contribute to advancements in healthcare and improve the quality of life for those affected by neurological disorders.  

Rachell said, “It is this intersection of scientific inquiry compassion for others, and a desire to make meaningful contributions to society that have guided my journey toward a career focused on neurodegenerative disease research or any research within the field of neuroscience.” 

Rachell is constantly listening to Latin music in the lab, especially Romeo Santos, Bad Bunny, and Feid. She loves going to concerts and has an adorable, bearded dragon named Marco.  

Congratulations Rachell, we are excited for your next steps in neuroscience!