Katarina Guzman | Student Spotlight
"How did I get here? I would not be where I am today without the loving support of my parents, which played a crucial role in my decision to attend Stanford. Born and raised in Southern California, I wanted to stay close during graduate school. The prestige of attending one of the best Universities in the country was also a nice bonus.
Although I studied and trained as an electrochemical engineer/materials scientist at my Undergraduate institution, I always wanted my work to have closer ties to human health. Therefore, I rotated in two chemical biology labs my 1st year at Stanford. I was incredibly blessed that despite my lack of knowledge in the field, Chaitan allowed me to join his research team. My research focuses on understanding the fundamental mechanisms of polyketide synthases (PKSs). These mega enzymes are known to generate medically relevant compounds. Therefore, understanding their underlying mechanisms has been of high interest in order to engineer novel pharmacologically relevant molecules. I was proud to contribute to our understanding of these enzymes through my first-author publication earlier this year.
Alongside research, I have also been able to pursue my teaching/mentoring passion while at Stanford. I a) served as a TA for ChemEng 185A (undergraduate senior lab course) for two years b) mentored a 1st-year rotation student, and c) am mentoring a sophomore undergraduate student in my lab. These experiences have exceeded my expectations. The ability to form relationships and help guide individuals brings me so much joy. After all, we cannot make the world a better place without giving back. I reflect on the individuals who have had the most influence on my life and try to combine their qualities into who I am today. I want to provide opportunities to change lives and believe the classroom is where I can make that impact. These combined experiences are why I hope to become a professor post-graduation."