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Mercedes in the Lab

Lives of Significance

Mercedes Fuentes, C'19

Fueled by Coffee and Passion

Mercedes Fuentes, C’19, a transfer student who came to the Mount two-and-a-half years ago, was caffeine-fueled for all of them. “Coffee became my best friend and something I couldn’t live without because of all the late night studying.” Passionate about cellular biology and microbiology, she’s hyper-focused on paying attention to the little things and is interested in how small organisms can do so much good and harm to our bodies. “The way all these small things come together to make up who we are, physically, fascinates me,” she marvels.

Fuentes is a member of the Biology Honor Society, TriBeta, and also published the paper Urumqi Determiner of a Dynasty: Small Province Turned into a Major Hub along China’s Belt and Road. Working in the lab alongside Associate Professor Kathryn Dye, Ph.D., she learned how to perform many of the techniques she now sees in job descriptions as she looks for employment. Fuentes is currently applying to medical schools and plans to start classes in August 2020.

Her advice to new students? Professors want to challenge you and will prepare you for your career or graduate school, making sure you can apply subject matter to real-world scenarios. “Studying biology has changed the way I look at the world around me in ways I had never imagined. When I read labels I can understand the names of chemicals, picture their structures in my head and pronounce them correctly because of organic chemistry.”

Powered by coffee, lab partners, study groups and professors who motivated her, Fuentes says she is grateful to the Office of Alumni Engagement for helping boost her social network around campus, enabling her to quickly make friends who introduced her to more friends. “I chose to attend the Mount because of the friendly vibe I got from everyone when I visited the campus. I heard a lot of stories about how the Mount turns into a second home. I found that to be true.”