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.
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.