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Demisha Porter 

Undergrad: King University

Department: Neuroscience 

Faculty/Rotations:Theus, VandeVord

Who are  you?

My name is Demisha Porter and I am a graduate (2017) of King University in Bristol, Tennessee and an inducted scholar in the VCU Postbaccalaureate Research Education Program. My research interest is Neuroscience. Conducting research in neuroscience and helping discover new information about the nervous system and associated diseases, unlocking the door to knowing how to preserve brain cells as we age, or finding the genetic link that can be used to protect us from certain neurodegenerative disease—I want to be part of that.  During my spare time, I enjoy playing basketball/ working out, hanging out with friends, and cooking.

What is one word that describes you and why?
One word that describes me is sentimental because I wear my heart out on my sleeve. I care about everything I do and how people are impacted by the research we are conducting in the world.

What do you look forward to at VT?
I look forward to joining VT and meeting the rest of my colleagues.  I also look forward to the challenges in conducting research and gaining my PhD.

What is one fun fact about you?
One fun fact about myself is I used to play collegiate basketball for King University and I like to draw. 

Matthew Flores

Undergrad: University of Arizona

Department: Biological Sciences/Microbiology

Faculty/Rotations: Popham, Stevens

Who are you?

I am a nerd. Always have been, always will be. Having grown up with a sick mother, and being a curious child, I sought to understand what my mother was going through. Reading biology textbooks at eight years old blew my mind, especially when I got to learning about “germs that make you sick”. I would try to match the description of these “germs” to my mom’s condition in order to better see why mom was sick. She eventually told me about what she had when I was older and could fully comprehend the diseases she had. Fast forward to college: I quickly learned about the world of research and Microbiology and decided that in order to continue pursuing what interests me, I needed to go to graduate school. Now, here I am, first in my family to graduate college, getting ready to start my journey through graduate school. In my free time, I enjoy ballroom dancing, playing bass guitar, and cooking. 

What is one word that describes you and why?
I’ve always been very curious about the world around me. As a kid, I burned myself on the oven because I wanted to” know how it felt”. My curiosity led me to become interested in science, mostly because as a kid, I always wanted to know why. This lead me to believe science had all the answers (which I quickly learned to not be true). My curiosity also made it easier to approach professors in my undergrad to ask both about the content we were learning, and about why they chose their field of research. 

What are some things you look forward to at VT?
In the near future, I’m looking forward to progressing through my PhD studies and graduate with a PhD in Biological Sciences.  I’m also looking forward to meeting other graduate students, professors, and learning about Virginia Tech. I’m also looking forward to life away from Arizona. In the faraway future, I’m hoping for a career as a professor, I hope to start a ranch, and hope to inspire someone to pursue science. Ultimately, I’m looking forward to the challenges that I’ll face and the solutions that I’ll come across, both inside and outside of the lab.

What is one fun fact about you?                                                 

In my undergraduate years, I participated in the ballroom dance team, helped teach an introductory Microbiology course, and advocated for improved student learning by holding monthly workshops introducing struggling students to better study habits. When not in the lab, I enjoy playing bass guitar, dancing, and attempting to make mosaic art