Caring for Diverse Populations
Guadalupe Orbezo-Perez’20, a senior biochemistry and psychology double major, French minor, and Pakula Biomedical Scholar, aspires to be a clinical psychologist, adding “I am trilingual and we need clinicians who can care for diverse populations.”
- Copyright (C) Amanda Urish Photography
Class Year: 2020
Majors: Double major in biochemistry and psychology, with a minor in French
Hometown: Beloit, WI
How did you hear about Beloit? What made you excited to come here?
I first started at Beloit as a Porter Scholar in high school. That program introduced me to Beloit College’s diverse atmosphere. It was great seeing how professors really cared for their students and how students were very engaged in the classroom. Previous to that, I first knew about Beloit from the Family Discovery Nights that the Science Center used to host. I remember being really impressed by the immensity of the building. I knew I wanted to do something in the sciences when I grew up, so I really loved that building. Some time after, I met some professors as a part of a field trip in AP Chemistry. My class got to work with analytical instruments and run a lab, and that experience made me really excited to apply and enroll at Beloit. Seeing how the relationships between students and faculty are really dynamic, how the campus environment is inclusive, and how the opportunities for hands-on learning are wide-ranging and interdisciplinary made me even more excited to come here for my education.
What kind of activities are you involved with on campus?
I currently work for the Learning Enrichment and Disability Services office (LEADS). I started working at LEADS the summer after freshman year as an Accessibility Assistant; then I was hired as a Learning Assistant the following spring, and I’ve been the Dean of Students Liaison for LEADS ever since. I’ve also been a French Teaching Assistant and a student representative for the Chemistry department. Additionally, I’ve volunteered for the Family Discovery Nights teaching visitors about liquid crystals, and I collaborated last year with Girls and Women In Science (GWIS), where I developed and co-facilitated an anti-stress workshop for the 6th grade girls that participated in the event. The summer after sophomore year, I participated in the Pakula Biomedical Fellowship program at Beloit, where I worked with Professor Amy Briggs doing research on the genetics of plant immunity. Doing the fellowship gave me lots of manuscript writing and peer review experience. I went on to present my research results during Homecoming Weekend, at the Midstates Consortium for Biological Sciences and Psychology in Chicago, and during Student Symposium. I am also a museum attendant for the Logan Museum of Anthropology, and I am a member of the Phi Beta Kappa, Psi Chi, and Phi Sigma Iota honor societies.
What off-campus opportunities have you enjoyed?
I’ve been a volunteer at Beloit Public Library since high school. I’ve participated in their Adopt-a-Shelf program and have been a Book Buddy for the Youth Services summer reading program each summer. This program prepares events for community children to increase their interest in reading. I love being part of an initiative to keep kids engaged in reading, learning, and education over the summer months, and I also like helping my community.
What has been your favorite class so far?
I really enjoyed my DNA and Protein Biochemistry course with Professor Ted Gries last year. I found the class very interesting and engaging, as we got to apply our knowledge every week in the lab working with different proteins. My favorite parts of the class was when we learned how to purify proteins in the lab and when we 3D printed protein structures at CELEB. I’ve loved all of my Psychology courses so far, but I’m especially excited for the Psychotherapy course I’m currently taking with Professor Greg Buchanan, as it closely aligns with my career interests. As for French, I really enjoyed the Genre, Gender, and Romance course I took last semester with Professor Joseph Derosier. The class focused on francophone medieval literature, and it increased my mastery of the language via our readings and projects, especially one that allowed me to play around with French syntax, increasing my understanding of the language.
What has been your most unexpected Beloit experience?
I knew coming in that Beloit had a large international student population, but it wasn’t until I got here that I realized just how diverse the Beloit student body is. I’ve had so many great interactions with international students throughout my time here, and in other circumstances I wouldn’t have gotten the chance to meet them. The population of the college being small, yet diverse, gave me the opportunity to get to know and become friends with so many people.
What’s been your biggest academic challenge?
I would have to say the research I did a couple summers ago for the Pakula Biomedical Fellowship. It really challenged me because I needed to be more independent in the lab, and I was able to apply the knowledge and skills I had previously learned in class into practice with an individualized approach. I was also able to obtain experience writing a scientific manuscript and participating in the peer review process. The most challenging part was the public speaking when I presented at Midstates in Chicago and then at Student Symposium. I’ve always been a bit shy about public speaking, but this gave me the opportunity to learn how to effectively communicate and present my science to those who may not have the same background in the same sciences I do.
Where is your favorite space on campus?
My favorite spaces on campus are the Science Center and the LEADS office. I love the Science Center, especially the student lounges. I like how each department has a lounge so that students can have a space to study and work together. I especially like that they are so close to the faculty offices. If I have questions, there’s almost always a faculty member there to help. I also appreciate the lab spaces with all the instruments and equipment we get to use in class and for independent research. I love the LEADS office as well. It’s so comforting, and I really enjoy working there with everyone. It’s a truly great place to work. I feel really proud to be a part of that team and to have been able to jump on board so early in my Beloit experience.
How has financial aid impacted your experience?
My dream was to be able to go to college. In high school, I did my best and strove to get good grades, earn merit, and be accepted into college. I knew that to get a quality education, I needed to start working on that before college. I am very grateful for the financial aid I received. Thanks to this help, I was able to get a quality education here at Beloit. I am very, very proud to be a Beloiter.
What would your advice be to future Beloiters?
I would tell them to take the opportunities Beloit has to offer, both in and out of the classroom. Find applications to what you’re studying in class and discover how it applies to the real world. Do projects and internships. Embrace the challenges and take them as opportunities for growth. Don’t be afraid to ask questions or get out of your comfort zone. Don’t be afraid about seeking help! The professors at Beloit care so much and want you to do well. Go to LEADS to learn about tutoring and other academic enrichment programs. Go to the Career and Community Engagement Center and the Writing Center. In short, Beloit has so many opportunities and so many great resources, and students should use them wisely!
How do you think Beloit has prepared you?
I think Beloit does an excellent job at emphasizing collaboration, teamwork, and critical thinking skills, all of which are important for any career you could want. My experience has taught me how to work with others who have differing views, values, and opinions. I’ve learned how to apply my knowledge in real life settings. Through academics and work, I’ve gained leadership skills, communication skills, and learned when and how to take initiatives. I think overall the whole experience of Beloit, whether it’s courses or work or something else, has given me a pretty well-rounded experience that has prepared me for the “real world.”
What’s next for you?
I’d like to continue studying psychology - pursuing a master’s in clinical psychology and a doctorate, with the end goal of becoming a clinical psychologist. It was through the psychology classes that I found the love for the profession. I am trilingual, and we need clinicians who can care for diverse populations. I plan to work teaching languages or doing something else while pursuing my master’s degree.