College:College of Medicine
Degree Program:Biomedical Sciences PhD
Research Focus:Lipid modifications in Actinobacteria
“Looking at other programs, I was kind of a lone face in a crowd. And when I came to UCF, I saw that we were diverse within the program, but then we walked out and were visiting people and seeing that the diversity was everywhere. ”
Doctoral student Danielle Worrell began her UCF journey as a member of the Diverse Academic Opportunities Program (DAOP). The DAOP is an on-campus two-day event for prospective doctoral applicants from underrepresented populations (such as women interested in STEM fields or Hispanic/Latino populations pursuing a PhD in psychology). During the program, the prospective students are able to tour the campus, meet faculty from their programs, attend workshops, and more. For Worrell, the DAOP gave her the chance to see UCF’ diversity in action.
“Looking at other programs, I was kind of a lone face in a crowd. And when I came to UCF, I saw that we were diverse within the program, but then we walked out and were visiting people and seeing that the diversity was everywhere. It’s wasn’t just ‘oh, here’s our diversity program, come to our school where no one looks like you.’ Everybody is so different. I’ve learned so much about different cultures and different people while I’ve been here. So I was drawn to that immediately - oh, this is actually diverse, they mean what they say.”
In addition to being able to see UCF’s diversity first-hand, the program also enabled Worrell to meet people from her program, which made her feel more comfortable when applying and interviewing for the program. Worrell received her bachelor's and master’s in biology from Tuskegee University and is currently pursuing her doctorate in biomedical sciences at UCF, with her research focusing on lipid modifications in Actinobacteria.
Worrell’s favorite part of her program is the Biomedical Sciences Graduate Student Association (BSGSA), because she appreciates how supportive everyone is of each other, and has made friends and relationships through the events that the BSGSA puts on. That atmosphere of support and sharing is also what she enjoys about her favorite class so far in her program, which was a seminar on how to present journal articles, which enabled them to share interesting topics with their classmates. Worrell also likes that her program is always willing to listen to the students and seeks out their feedback.
After graduating, Worrell hopes to go into the industry and do research and development. She is also considering becoming a professor in the future, so that she can spread the knowledge she has learned to other students. Her advice to future graduate students to get involved with the people around you – “those are the people who are going to have lunch with you, who are going to talk to you when you’re having bad days, and make sure that you’re okay. Don’t seclude yourself – bloom into a flower and become as friendly as possible, and meet new people.”
- Inaugural Class of the Diverse Academic Opportunities Program
- Biomedical Sciences Graduate Student Association Member
- Research focuses on on lipid modifications in Actinobacteria
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