Mariela Lopez

Woodside High School 2017
UC San Diego 2020
UPenn Phd in Neuroscience 2021 - current

Without POE I would have not been able to volunteer at my first research lab which consequently opened all the doors for me to end up where I am today.



Mariela found her passion for research of the brain during her first year in college.  Freshman year she decided to volunteer in a research lab and immediately knew this was what she enjoyed.  While studying at UC San Diego she learned that she could continue her education to obtain a PhD in Neuroscience and at that point set out to achieve the goal of an advanced degree.   

 Throughout her undergraduate education Mariela was a Teaching Assistant and volunteered at organizations that offered education to the Homeless; she enjoyed teaching people and helping those who do not have access to resources.  After applying for and receiving research scholarships, working at two different labs at the same time (while being a full-time student), presenting at local and national conferences, and co-authoring research papers, Mariela was ready to apply to graduate school. As a student for a PhD in Neuroscience at the University of Pennsylvania, Mariela is researching the neural circuits of feeding behaviors and obesity as well as the reward system. 

 Mariela is passionate about mentoring and helping those who are in the same situation she was in several years ago.  She strives to share her knowledge navigating the education system in the United States with other immigrant and first-generation students and parents.  Mariela is now a POE mentor as well as a mentor for Project SHORT where she mentors underrepresented students who are applying to graduate school.  She also volunteers for the Action Against Bias, an organization at UPenn, reading minority prospective applicants’ essays and CVs before applying to the Neuroscience Graduate Program.  

In Mariela’s own words…“My POE mentor and research mentors throughout college inspired me to become one and help those who are in similar situations I was in. I was always incredibly grateful for the help I received through college, and I will be helping as many students as I can to achieve their goals during my PhD and throughout my career.”



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