Alumni Profile

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Steven Alvarez (Bayamon, Puerto Rico)

Chemical Engineering, Masters
University of Puerto Rico Mayagüez
Current Position: Lawrence Berkeley Natl. Lab (Post Baccalaureate Fellow)

Research Interests: Biological and energy applications of self-assembly of block-copolymers

Interests outside of school/research: I enjoy cooking and meeting with friends to play volleyball. I also bought an electric guitar and I am learning how to play it.

How did you hear about the program? Why did you apply?

I was looking for graduate school preview programs online and found about ACCESS at MIT. At that time, I was in the process of preparing to apply for graduate school and the program seemed to be a great opportunity to educate myself about opportunities in graduate school. 

Interesting things you did at ACCESS and people you’ve met

I was really impressed by how the program made opportunities and information about graduate school more ACCESSible. I was thrilled to meet Professors Robert Langer and Paula Hammond whose work and career paths I really admire. 

Favorite part of the weekend and why?

I really enjoyed the social activities. The dinners provided a great opportunity to interact with the other participants of the program, MIT students and faculty. I also enjoyed the duck tour around the city. It was a fun way to see Boston!

Do you think you benefited from the program – did it help you in any way? Why or why not?

I definitely benefited from the program. It has helped me to improve my graduate school applications, as I was able to hear firsthand from faculty what they look for when they review an application. It was also a great opportunity for networking. I had the opportunity to talk to professors and researchers about my aspirations, learn about their career paths and receive their advice. 

Prior to attending ACCESS, did you have plans to apply for graduate school? How did ACCESS impact your decision?

Before attending the ACCESS symposium I knew I wanted to go to graduate school, but participating in the program propelled my enthusiasm for graduate studies. I gained exposure to the cutting-edge research at MIT and its impact on the world, further motivating me to pursue graduate studies and one day become a part of such contributions. 

Are you planning on applying to attending graduate school now? If so, where?

Graduate school is definitely in my future plans but, for the moment, I have decided to acquire experience in a research setting outside of academia. I am currently a post baccalaureate fellow at the Advanced Light Source at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. 

Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years?

In five years I see myself either finishing my Ph.D. or starting a post-doc somewhere in Europe (I love cultural exchange!). In ten years I see myself conducting research in academia or in a national lab.

Anything else you want to share?

Keep up the great work! =)