The scholarship has been helpful in many ways. For instance, it has helped me fund throughout the program paying my tuition, part of my stipend and a huge chunk of my insurance. And secondly, it was key for me to study abroad and to end up in such a premier institution as UC Davis. I chose to study at UC Davis because it’s one of the premier programs in the world. And it has a very nice focus in microbiology and particularly in yeast research and that was something I was passionate for. Some of the yeast I work with happen to be isolated from olive trees on campus. And these strains happen to be among the highest lipid producers. My research consists in screening the Pfaff Yeast Culture Collection — the fourth biggest of its kind in the world — to find yeast that are capable of producing lipids, that means fats that can be converted into high-value products like biofuels or biosurfactants. My research is going to help solve a big problem and that is to … Nowadays, mainstream crops like corn and soybeans are diverted into both food and fuel, and there is not enough supply. So if we can have the yeast produce the fuel part, then we can help solve that problem.