Amazing Students Profiles

Caelin Cubenas

Caelin Cubenas

Since her freshman year, Caelin Cubenas has been expanding her love and understanding of science. Her first two years were through the Center for Undergraduate Research Opportunities apprentice program and then as a senior peer advisor. She is a midterm Foundation Fellow and a Barry Goldwater Scholar. This summer, Caelin traveled to Urubamba and Calca in Peru where she volunteered at a center for battered women and children. Then she had a summer internship with the National Institutes of Health, working on her own project through the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. Here at UGA, she is studying the role of Hirano bodies in oxidative stress susceptibility. Hirano bodies are found in people with neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s diseases. She has been involved with the Association of Women in Science and will be undergraduate co-president this year.


Louisville, Kentucky

High School:

Presentation Academy

Degree objective:

B.S. in biochemistry & molecular biology with a minor in Spanish

Expected graduation:

May 2007

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships:

I am a midterm Foundation Fellow and Barry S. Goldwater Scholar. Additionally, as part of UGA’s CURO, I was an apprentice from fall 2003 to spring 2005 and a Senior Peer Advisor in fall 2005 and spring 2006. I am also a Learning Community Peer Advisor for the Life Sciences Community for the 2006-2007 academic year, and an alumni representative to the CURO-AP advisory board. I studied Spanish in Valencia, Spain, in summer 2005 with the UGA en Espana program, and I work with the Association for Women in Science. I was their secretary last year, and I will be the undergraduate co-president this year.

Current Employment:

This summer, I worked as a National Institutes of Health intern. I was at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases studying basic immunology and the proteins necessary for T1 cell differentiation. I also spent a month in Peru volunteering with women and children who have suffered from domestic violence. I lived in Urubamba but worked in a small community called Arin. I really loved this job and met some amazing and inspiring people while I was there.

I chose to attend UGA because…

…because I do not have family ties in Kentucky, and I wanted to attend a school out-of-state. The CURO apprentice program here at UGA was offered to me, which let me begin undergraduate research during my very first semester. This was really appealing because getting involved in research early would help me decide if a research career was actually what I wanted. My decision was also influenced by the beautiful campus and the amazing weather in Athens.

My favorite things to do on campus are…

…to walk around North Campus and chat with friends over a coffee in the Student Learning Center.

When I have free time, I like…

…to relax by reading, listening to music, and chatting with friends. When I want to relieve some stress, I love to go out with friends and see some live music. Live music is one of my favorite ways to unwind.

The craziest thing I’ve done is…

…climb Wanya Picchu in Peru. This is the famous mountain that towers over the ruins of Machu Picchu. The path is very narrow and you have to hold cables to keep your balance, but I can assure you that the peak gave me the biggest adrenaline rush. It is composed of solid granite slabs, and the view is just spectacular. The whole experience was a mix of fear and awe, making it one of the most wonderful things I have ever done.

My favorite place to study is…

…outside. During fall and spring, there are some really beautiful and breezy days. I love to sit outside with my iPod and study because I don’t feel like I’m working when I’m in a beautiful place.

My favorite professor is…

…Marcus Fechheimer in cell biology. I have taken a class from him, and I worked in his lab for 3 years. He cares a lot about what his students learn and gain from his classes. In the lab setting, he has been great because he has let me improve at my own pace. As soon as I master one challenge, he presents a new one so that I’m constantly exploring new things and achieving new levels of my potential.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with…

…Albert Einstein. He is obviously one of the greatest masterminds known to humanity, but what I really like is that he had so many wonderful achievements “outside the system.” He didn’t follow the traditional path of education, and he focused on the importance of creativity and imagination. I think he would be a great person to talk to because his respect and awe for the mysteries of life would really inspire me to enjoy it to the fullest.

If I knew I could not fail, I would…

…develop an environmentally-friendly and renewable energy source. I would want it to be very cheap so that all countries around the world could use it to provide for their people. It would help level the playing ground between developed and developing countries. I would want this new energy to be available to everyone.

After graduation, I plan to…

…go to graduate school and pursue a Ph.D. in the biomedical sciences. I like being able to collaborate within the scientific community, and the idea that my life’s work will add to the huge pool of knowledge that eventually leads to great new discoveries is appealing. In addition to working on my career, I would like to take on the challenge of balancing my job and a family. I think that doing both will help me achieve a personally rewarding life.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be…

…the UGA football games. It is a great experience to see 90,000 people who otherwise may share very little in common come together. The excitement of all the tailgaters and students really creates a great atmosphere. I love to stand in the student section and lose my voice cheering for the Dawgs. I will never forget the energy and excitement from these games.