Student Spotlight: Daniel Fernandez
Chemistry was not always one of Daniel Fernandez’s favorite sciences.
“I mainly found it difficult and intimidating,” he said. “But the more I exposed myself to it, the better I became at the subject and actually started to enjoy it.”
While Fernandez chose College of DuPage because it was close to home and work, and tuition was affordable, he took advantage of many opportunities. This included a summer research internship in 2015 at Hope College, funded by the Resource for Excellence grant program through the College of DuPage Foundation. He worked as part of a team using short-pulse lasers, advanced microscopes and computers to understand what drives the biological functions of proteins and other molecules.
“We also studied whole organisms in an effort to understand the process of neuroregeneration, which allows some creatures, such as fish, to recover from spinal cord injury,” he said. “By combining the femtosecond laser with the single-molecule microscope, we selectively damaged individual neurons and then watched the surrounding neurons as they begin the neuroregeneration process.”
After finishing his coursework at COD, Fernandez transferred to the Illinois Institute of Technology and earned a Master’s in Science Education degree. He is currently a science teacher at Addison Trail High School and will begin a Ph.D. program in Curriculum and Instruction with a focus on Science Education at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
“I took what I learned at College of DuPage and applied it to the rest of my education,” he said. “Now I’m using it as part of my job, and I will continue doing so well into the future.”
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