Discovery on Display

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Some day, Stefany Holguin would like to help bring the general public closer to science. Some day, she’d like to put a human face on the complexities of bioengineering and research, and maybe she’d like to be that face, but first things first. Right now, this Sloan Foundation Scholar is content making discoveries in the lab, and it’s having benefits.

Holguin was runner-up in two recent poster competitions at the Georgia Institute of Technology for her research poster entitled, ‘Disruption of cell membranes via laser activated, acoustically active, carbon nanoparticles.’

She was lead author, but she was co-authored by her co-advisers, Mark Prausnitz, faculty member of the Petit Institute for Bioengineering and Bioscience, and Naresh Thadhadni, professor and chair of the School of Materials Science and Engineering (MSE). Also co-authoring was Michael Gray, senior research engineer and co-director of the Acoustics and Vibrations Laboratory.

With Holguin taking the lead, their work took second place in the biomaterials category in third annual MSE Poster Competition and second place in overall competition in the 12th Annual Georgia Tech Technical [GT^2] Symposium.

The symposium, organized by the Black Graduate Students Association (BGSA) and Latino Organization for Graduate Students (LOGRAS), has become a premiere opportunity for minority graduate students in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields to showcase their research and network with colleagues while gaining exposure to industry.

It’s the kind of outreach that Holguin, a member of LOGRAS, is passionate about, and it dovetails with her interest in public work down the road.

“My goal always has been to be involved with something in healthcare,” says Holguin, a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. “I like the idea of helping to improve the lives of people, whether through translational or fundamental research. But eventually I’d like to combine my technology background with something in policy.”

It may sound a little audacious now, and Holguin knows it, but she sees helping to raise public awareness of science and research, helping to make it more accessible, is a likely direction for her career path.

“If the public has a better understanding of science, especially regarding health technologies, the average person will take greater initiative in their own care,” she says. “They’ll start asking the right questions of physicians and other medical personnel.”


Jerry Grillo
Communications Officer II
Parker H. Petit Institute for
Bioengineering and Bioscience


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