Consuelo Sauceda, a San Marcos Promise PACE Scholar, is a proud member of the class of 2016 at Cal State University San Marcos (CSUSM). Consuelo credits PACE with providing her a bridge from high school to her career. “In high school, I really liked my biochemistry course. I knew college was next, but the concept of college was so foreign to me. To be confident in my academic pursuit, I wanted to stay close to home and I knew the CSUSM campus. It is small enough to allow me to build personal relationships with professors and get one-on-one help. Through the PACE Promise, I knew I had automatic acceptance to CSUSM and this would put me on my path to my future career.”
Consuelo’s ultimate life dream is to make new discoveries on cancer. As a biochemistry major, she is on the path to accomplish this. “I decided to study cancer research because a couple of my family members passed away from cancer and I wanted to learn how it was caused and how it functioned.”
In partnership with CSUSM’s Dr. Jacqueline Trischman, Consuelo spends countless hours conducting research with marine bacteria in the hopes of coming up with an antibiotic with activity against Mycobacterium marinum, the closest genetic relative to M. tuberculosis (agent involved in causing tuberculosis). “In the lab, I am working with a type of bacteria that was taken from a yellow sea sponge. By introducing a TB-like organism to the bacterium we can then analyze the results to identify compounds that can be used to develop an antibiotic.” While children in the United States are screened for TB at a young age, children in developing countries do not have access to this screening or the resources to research and create a better antibiotic to fight TB.
Consuelo’s next step in understanding cancer is to attend graduate school to obtain a PhD in the biomedical sciences. Her time at CSUSM has given her the confidence to move out of her comfort zone by applying to the University of California San Diego, University of Washington, and University of Colorado Denver. “After graduate school, I hope to conduct research with cancer applications and to teach at a university level.”
Her advice to future PACE scholars: “Strive hard and achieve academic success beyond the minimum requirement of your classes. Seek out and make the connections between ideas and the real world so you truly understand the concepts you are being taught in the classroom.”