Bethesda, MD – Mayte Gonzalez, originally from Brownsville, TX, is a junior chemistry major at Schreiner University. With the support of her family and strong Hispanic heritage, her parents – with no formal education of their own – have always impressed upon her the value of hard work and perseverance. She aspires to someday use her chemistry degree in the medical field.

With the encouragement of her advisor, Dr. Adrian Zapata, and her drive to explore and find an area of interest associated with her major, she applied to a prestigious diversity summer internship at the National Institute of Health in Bethesda, Maryland.

Gonzalez was 1 out of 12 students accepted nationally for the diversity summer research training program at the NIH for the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease – a ten-week research program.

She has had the opportunity to work alongside Dr. Hongyi Cai and Dr. Peter J. Walter, who runs the Clinical Mass Spectrometry Core for the NIDDK at the NIH.

Throughout the summer she has learned and helped develop a method to assist with clinical research at the NIDDK. Her project is associated with working with cholesterol derived metabolites present in human plasma associated with clinical research for Irritable bowel syndrome.

She has had the opportunity of working with two different Liquid Chromatography- Mass Spectrometry systems and exposed to different techniques and challenges along the way.

Schreiner University was not somewhere she anticipated attending, but it was one of the best decisions she made. She has been impacted by the faculty and friends she has met at Schreiner and is very thankful for two of her Schreiner professors that have become role models to her – Dr. Danette Vines, Professor of Chemistry, and Dr. Adrian Zapata, Assistant Professor of Chemistry – who have made a positive impact on her. 

Gonzalez developed an interest in the STEM field, but she never knew exactly what she wanted to specialize in until she met her chemistry professor Dr. Vines, who inspired her with her passion for chemistry.

“The journey has been tough, but I enjoy the challenge that comes with the subject,” said Gonzalez.

At Schreiner University her advisor, Dr. Zapata has pushed her to take advantage of great opportunities outside of her comfort zone, to stay on the grind, and believe in herself no matter how challenging things get.

“I am very grateful for this opportunity God placed in my path,” said Gonzalez. “I am happy I stepped out of my comfort zone to learn. This will push me to continue towards my goals.” She went on to quote one of her favorite inspirational scriptures, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

 Her summer project will be presented at the end of internship at NIDDK/DSRTP Research Symposium and a Poster Day presentation.