Curious, Wira*1

Ars longa, vita brevis.

One afternoon in my childhood, while we were watching a science program with my mother, I asked her “Mom, what do I have to study to be a scientist?”. My mother replied “Any career that uses the scientific method, there is nothing specific.” I thought that she was lying to me or that she didn’t know. As I was little, I thought that just as you have to study to be a firefighter, a policeman or a doctor, you could surely study to be a scientist, and I wanted to study that when I grew up. This desire to dedicate myself to science did not arise spontaneously, but was formed thanks to the support of my family.

Growing up, my dream of being a scientist began to look blurry as I found other passions: sports, art, public speaking, debate, and industry. At the end of it all, I managed to balance all my interests and at the age of 17, I began to take my first steps as a scientist when I decided to pursue a career in Biochemistry and Microbiology. That little decision changed my life forever. Thanks to the career I chose, I have worked on projects focused on biological research such as population studies of toads, molecular studies of the venom of an Heloderma from Guatemala, diversity of spiders from Guatemala, among others. I have also done microbiology studies and also opened the doors to the world of industry, from the area of ​​molecular chemical analysis and quality control.

The path that I have taken in my career has helped me fulfill a dream that I didn’t even thought was possible to achieve: To work in space research, specifically in projects funded by NASA. In addition, the multidisciplinarity learned from my passions helped me find new ways to support the education of my country through scientific communication tools thanks to my speaking and illustration / art skills.

Currently, I am the president of the Guatemalan Association of Engineering and Space Sciences (AGICE), as well as I’m the National Contact Point for the Space Generation Advisory Council (SGAC) and I’m also in charge of the chemical analysis laboratory of a pharmaceutical company in my country. My current dream is to be able to generate education, scientific communication and food health projects, to generate improvements in my country. In addition, I seek to open new doors for Guatemalans who want to carry out projects with me or like mine, and to create new bridges between scientists, communicators and other professionals from other countries, with talented Guatemalans.


“Change will not come in a single sunrise.” -Horizon Zero Dawn

Curriculum

Education


2016 – Present | Biochemistry and Microbiology

University of the Valley of Guatemala

  • Named Outstanding student of the UVG on 2019
  • Co-founder of the UVG Debate Society
  • President and VicePresident of the UVG Debate Society 2015 – 2017
2016 – 2020 | Baccalaureatus in Scientiis

University of the Valley of Guatemala

2019 | Certificate of training in General Biosafety

University of Colorado Boulder

2019 | Certificate of training in Lab Safety and Hazardous Waste Generator Training (Web)

University of Colorado Boulder

2002 – 2015 | Science and Letters

La Asunción School

  • Grade president for 3 years (2011, 2012 and 2013)
  • Part of the clubs or Basketball and Swimming.
  • Perseverance prize.

2020 | Astronomy basic course: The sun (our star)

Guatemalan Association of Astronomy, Diploma

2020 | The Science of Stem Cells

Coursera, Course Certificates

2020 | Astrobiology and the Search for Extraterrestrial Life

Coursera, Course Certificates

2020 | AI for everyone

Coursera, Coursera Certificates

Professional Experience


Paid

2020 – 2021 | Quinfica

In charge of the labs: Quality Control, Physicochemical lab and Botanical Identification

  • Started as an Intern on January 2020
  • Hired on March 2020
2019 – 2021 | Teacher Assistant of the Course of Molecular Biology, University of the Valley of Guatemala


Teacher assistant for the course, with 30-35 students. Weekly experiments using university laboratory equipment. PCR and Electrophoresis techniques.

  • Lab Assistant 2019
  • Theory Assistant 2020, 2021
2015 – 2020 | CB Center Guatemala, S.A.

Freelance

  • Freelancer programmer of the Website
  • Design and publicity for the available positions for jobs.
  • Artist for paintings for the office.
  • Bilingual recruiter
2019 | University of the Valley of Guatemala

Investigation work of Microbiology – Ecology

Herrera, K., Fuentes, V. (2019). Bucal microbiota of the Heloderma charlesbogertii and its relationship with the sweet odour of its venom.

2017 – 2019 | University of the Valley of Guatemala

Teacher Assistant in the annual population count project of Incilius bocourti in the Chicabal Lagoon of Quetzaltenango. Use of amphibian sampling techniques, physiological measurements, and other ecological techniques to identify forest health.

Fieldwork assistant. Annual participation requires the use of physicochemical analysis techniques for water quality, along with measurements of canopy cover and identification of biological diversity.


Internship and Volunteering

2019 – Present | BioServe Space Technologies, BMSIS, MUSA Project

Professional experience in the area of investigation and scientific communication.

2020 – Present | FLAAR Mesoamerica and the University of the Valley of Guatemala

Professional experience as curator of the spider collection of the UVG Entomology Laboratory and scientific communication with FLAAR Mesoamerica.

2020 | MIT Challenge

Participant in the MIT COVID-19 Challenge Hackathon. Part of the health support systems team. Challenge A: To identify Immunity in COVID19. Finding technologies to meet challenges, handle the silent challenge of asymptomatic people, and estimate how many are infected.

2017 – 2019 | Technology and Innovation, University of the Valley of Guatemala

Development of a Clinostat (microgravity simulator) in a developing country.

2019 | United Way, Guatemala

“Science is for the little ones too”.

Coordinated and developed an educational event where we did activities related to pure sciences as physics, chemistry, biochemistry, biology and engineering. The participants of the activity where kids of 6 years of a school at a vulnerable zone of Guatemala City.

More about me


Glossary

*1Wiro/wira is a word used in -some- places of Guatemala to refere to little (and hyperactive) kids. It’s the same as using the word “kiddo”.