• Christopher Haggarty-Weir

Interview with Valentina Arango

As some of you may know, I set up a scholarship fund in my name for biomedical science undergraduates at the University of the Sunshine Coast (my undergrad alma mater). The aim of the Haggarty-Weir Scholarship (which is funded by a portion of the profits my firm generates) is to help bright students undergoing financial hardship. The most recent scholarship recipient is Valentina Solar Arango (below), and I had the pleasure of interviewing her recently.

Valentina Arango alongside Dr. Haggarty-Weir's mother and brother during USC's Celebration of Philanthropy event.

Dr. Haggarty-Weir: So tell us a little about yourself, your background and what got you

interested in science?

Valentina Arango: I have always been a person driven by curiosity. Since I was little, I was

surrounded by scientists who were doing research in Cape Horn. My

mother was working with an NGO as Resident Biologist and took me to all of

the activities that occurred in the field and classroom. I got to know persons

from all over the world with different cultural background and from different

disciplines. Besides this exciting and adventurous life, I learned the

importance of research in understanding the value of nature and the role of

society in conserving and respecting nature ethically.

HW: And what made you choose biomedical science for your major?

VA: I chose biomedical science since it is the platform which would give me the

strong basis to achieve my beloved dream to become a doctor in


HW: Do you have more specific areas of interest within biomedical science?

VA: I have a great interest in clinical measurements, especially within

cardiology, because it gives me the knowledge to understand the function of the heart

and how to identify possible heart pathologies.

HW: And what sort of career path are you currently considering and why?

VA: As previously mentioned , I wish to further study medicine (my MD) and in parallel I wish to be able to do a research Ph.D. Biomedical science (through the subjects that I studied and particularly my research project) has given me the tools and fundamentals to be prepared to do a higher degree which involves intensive research.

HW: Who have been your biggest inspirations or role models in science and


VA: My mother has been one of the most inspiring role models for me since she

always encouraged me to question myself about everything and to listen to

several sides of the same story. The lecturers at the university who were passionate about their subjects inspired me strongly through the research that they were developing. And, I

also have to mention that when I lived in Cape Horn, I had the opportunity

to meet bright scientists who developed innovative ideas which were

revolutionary in the field of conservation of biodiversity.

HW: What are the current major challenges for new students at university in

the sciences (or in general) today?

VA: The challenges can be balancing study workload, work, being away from

home, and social life. However, USC has several programs for students to

overcome stress about starting or continue studying a degree at USC.

HW: What are some of the things you love the most about your university?

VA: The programs at USC include hands-on training and the flxibility to

choose a career goal in different fields. The lecturers at USC go out of their

way to explain course work materials, making the learning experience very

satisfactory. Also, USC has an excellent Olympic pool where you can

exercise after a long day of lectures.

HW: Any advice for high-school students considering going into an

undergraduate in science?

VA: Do it! Science is an amazing field to study; it opens the door to many

opportunities and you can choose many specializations. From medicine,

molecular biology, genetics, bioinformatics and many more. University

gives you the key to open a door for a brilliant future.

Phone: +44 (0) 7501 448 220

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