My MCW Story: Dianise Rodriguez Garcia
Dianise aims to increase the representation and visibility of women, particularly those of Hispanic descent, in the sciences.
Dianise’s journey to her current standing as a 2nd-year graduate student in the Cell & Development Biology PhD program began in November of 2018, when she attended and met representatives from MCW at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students (ABRCMS). It was through this event that she learned about, applied to, and was selected to participate in MCW’s 2019 Summer Program for Undergraduate Research (SPUR). “I came in, and I felt fully accepted and welcome,” said Dianise about her start in the program. “Going into academia and science can be intimating, and here when I came in everyone was friendly and I felt like I was cared for.”
Following the conclusion of SPUR ’19, Dianise applied for and was eventually admitted into MCW’s Neuroscience Doctoral Program. One of the biggest factors in her pursuit of graduate education at MCW was family-like atmosphere of the institution. And despite any fears of being a Latina in the U.S. and having a different background than most, she was excited to return to the Milwaukee campus community. “I felt cared for in all aspects of my life,”, said Dianise. “There are folks here who can help you with anything,” she added.
Through lab rotations she participated in during her first year as an enrolled student, Dianise found a research home in the lab of Dr. Cheryl Stucky, who also happened to be her SPUR faculty mentor. Her research is broadly focused on further understanding the underlying mechanisms of, and improving the treatments for, migraine symptoms. Dianise’s inspiration for pursuing neuroscience-related research topics stems from her mother’s struggle with Lupus. “She’s otherwise healthy but now has all these lifestyle complications,” said Dianise. “We need to do better,” she added.
Aside from being a successful researcher, Dianise aims to increase the representation and visibility of women, particularly those of Hispanic descent, in the sciences. “I grew up not knowing that I could be a scientist,”, she shared. “I want to show younger generations that you can be what you want to be, that you’re not alone, and that you can do it.”