Podcast Transcript – Gerardo Castillo
Today’s podcast features an interview with UNT alumnus Gerardo Castillo. We asked him questions related to his program and a little about his postgraduation career path. We hope you’ll stay tuned.science-basedon-campus
My name is Gerardo Castillo. I am a UNT alumnus and I earned my bachelor’s degree of biochemistry back in May of 2015.
Why did you choose your specific degree? Growing up, I had always been interested in science. I had always been my best subject in school. So when I came to college, it was a natural decision to gravitate to something that was science based. And I also wanted to eventually go to medical school. I decided on the track of biochemistry to take care of the prerequisites.
What on campus organizations were you involved in during your time at UNT? During my time oriented, I was very involved in the learning center with three different programs. First started as a volunteer tutor and that progressed into a supplemental instruction leader and eventually teaching assistant roles. And so that was very important for me because I discovered that I have a passion for teaching and that is something that I pursued after I graduate.
What advice would you share with current students for current students? I would definitely recommend to not be afraid to try new things. And there’s something that might seem a little bit interesting. I would say definitely go for it. It’s OK to feel a little bit uncomfortable because that means that you’re learning new things. And through those new experiences, you get to figure out what you really want to do with both your education, your career and your life in general.
What advice do you have for current students as they decide their next steps after graduation for students?
I would definitely remind you that the education side of things is very important, but that’s really more the starting place for your career. It’s not just graduate with your degree and immediately fall into a job. You need to have experience to make use of your degree. And so definitely don’t neglect internships and jobs they might be able to get while you’re working through your undergrad.
Tell us about the BioDiscovery Institute. I recently started working at the BioDiscovery Institute and more specifically, my lab is called the bio analytical facility. What we do there is that we focus on preparing samples and analyzing those samples through state of the art equipment that are chromatography and mass spectrometry, and we use that to generate data to support biological research. I learned of this roll through my career advisor who had been working with for a couple of months as I was trying to transition into a new career that was more laboratory based than educational.
How has the career center helped you? After I spend a few years teaching in the classroom, it was very difficult to transition into a laboratory role right away because I had been out of practice, I had not been performing my own research in that time. And so for help, I came to the UNT Career Center and I worked very closely with my career advisor to tailor my applications, to take my experience from teaching into a more laboratory role.
The most important resource from the career center has been my career advisor, Susan Bradley. So I worked very closely with her through the whole job search process, from writing resumes to searching for jobs and sending off applications and contacting companies directly to find the right match for me to find the correct next job.
Do you have any extra advice to share?
I would recommend to students to enjoy the experience and to explore just about everything that has to offer. And don’t be afraid to take chances. And if you find that there is something that you enjoy more doing than what was your plan originally. Don’t be afraid to explore it a little bit and just see where this one can take you for myself.
I came here, at UNT, intending to be a premed student. I was going to continue on to medical school and along the way I found out that the medical field is not really my best fit. I don’t really like working with sick people. And so but I found that I really enjoy teaching. And so that is something that carried me through at least six or seven years and a career.
And so I would definitely say, again, not be afraid to try new things and explore whatever interests you.