PH.D. | NEUROBIOLOGY
COLLEGE OF SCIENCES
PART OF UTSA TODAY’S SERIES ON SOME OF THE NEWEST ALUMNI OF ROADRUNNER NATION
MAY 11, 2020 — A child of immigrants, Juan Morales was a newborn when his father died. And when he was 5 years old his mother died as well, leaving the boy and his two older sisters in the care of their grandmother in Edinburg, just north of the Mexico-U.S. border.
“We were very poor,” Morales said. “So there wasn’t much to do.”
Instead, Morales’ curiosity drew him outdoors into the thorny shrubs and subtropical woodlands of the nearby rural landscape.
After high school Morales, a first-generation student, completed two degrees in mathematics at The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley. Seeking another challenge, he decided to apply his math knowledge to science.
He was fortunate enough to secure financial assistance from a RISE fellowship, a federally funded program designed to ensure that talented and motivated minority or disadvantaged students are able to obtain the experience and skills they need to succeed in research-intensive careers. The fellowship helped reduce stress on Morales and allowed him to focus on his studies.
“I chose neuroscience at UTSA. When I was younger, I was always pretty good at math and enjoyed it. It’s ironic because, in science, it’s kind of hard to know the precise answer sometimes. The brain is complex, and I can use mathematics to gain insight.”
His dedication and perseverance paid off. This month Morales receives his Ph.D. in neurobiology. While pursuing his doctorate Morales learned a lot about basal ganglia, a part of the brain essential for conscious movement and learning.
“At UTSA I acquired the skills needed to pursue a career in science by piecing together all the advice I received from mentors and colleagues,” he said.
For now, Morales is staying at UTSA as a postdoctorate associate as he contemplates a few job offers and completes his dissertation studying the resonance of brain cells.
And after the completion of his dissertation? “I’ll be moving on to new endeavors.”
The world is wide open.
Stalking 101 will help students, faculty, and staff to recognize stalking (Know it), understand the different ways stalking affects victims (Name it), and how to help someone who may be affected by it (Stop it). This is BYOB--Bring your own brown bag lunch event, so bring your lunch and learn about stalking.Wellbeing Service Meeting Room, RWC 1.806, Main Campus
Join us virtually as we unveil the new College of Education and Human Development’s (COEHD) Student Success Center. Learn about how this Center is designed to assist Undergraduate COEHD students with a successful academic transition from entry to graduation, provide support and mentorship and serve as a resource center and hub to enhance their academic journey. There will also be UTSA and Pop Culture Education Trivia and giveaways as well.Virtual Event
Join this week’s Roost weekly tournament series at the Roost. Compete against your friends, roommates and classmates. Registration is required. Limited spots available.Roost Game Room, H-E-B Student Union 2.220, Main Campus
This session will begin with a brief introduction and overview of the NSF CAREER program followed by audience Q&A with past NSF CAREER awardees.Virtual Event
Career Conversations are informal virtual networking events on Thursday evenings between graduate business students and company representatives.Virtual Event
Session for faculty on how to develop strong outreach and education components to meet NSF’s broader impacts requirements. (Note that the emphasis will not be on education components for NSF CAREER proposals, which are covered in an on-demand NSF CAREER webinar also available to UTSA faculty.)Virtual Event
This institute is for Graduate Students. It will consist of eight 45-minute sessions. Participants will be introduced to applications included in Adobe Creative Cloud, a tool that is free for all UTSA students. Attendees will be able to complete short projects that will give them the opportunity to produce artifacts that they can use to improve their digital literacy skills and prepare them for their life after they finish their UTSA journey.Virtual Event
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