IBB Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium: Agnes Gunawan

Agnes Gunawan
Agnes Gunawan, LSC Honors College graduate, earns top honors at an undergraduate research symposium at Rice University.

Agnes Gunawan shares her experiences with Lone Star College, LSC Honors College and the IBB Summer Undergraduate Research Symposium at Rice University.


When and why did you enroll at Lone Star College? 

I enrolled at Lone Star College during fall 2021, as soon as I graduated from high school.

One of the reasons I decided to attend Lone Star College was due to the welcoming and inclusive community that allows me to feel a sense of belonging. Since I attended smaller middle and high schools, I feared transferring to a college or university because this meant I would be in a much larger community. However, throughout my time on campus and by being in The Honors College, I felt at home.


Which LSC campus did you attend?

I attended LSC-CyFair for most of my classes and took Honors University Physics I and II at LSC-University Park.


What LSC program did you study, when did you graduate and what is your current educational path?

I graduated from LSC in spring 2023 with an Honors Associate of Science degree. I am currently a pre-med biology student at the University of Houston.


How long have you been involved with the LSC Honors College?

I enrolled in the Honors College when I started LSC in fall 2021.


What was your experience with LSC Honors College, what projects did you work on and how is it helping you in your future goals?

The Honors College has provided me with many experiences like attending regional conferences and giving back to the LSC-CyFair community.

When chosen to present one of my research projects at the Gulf Coast Intercollegiate Consortium Conference, I had the opportunity to attend the conference progression, which vastly improved my presentation skills.

Prior to entering college, I considered myself an introvert. As a leader in the Honors College Leadership Program, I constantly challenged myself to do things I would have never done before. Through consistent academic participation and engagement with my LSC-CyFair community, I boosted my social skills and grew more confident in talking to new people.

Aside from volunteering in community-building events, including CyFest and open houses, I enjoy encouraging young people to pursue a STEM education. I loved to help during the Gulf Coast Regional Science Olympiad, hosted by LSC-CyFair, to challenge middle and high school students in science competitions.

In addition to those on-campus experiences, I also had the opportunity to participate in the Take Flight Program, a STEM Scholar partnership with LSC, San Jacinto College and Rice University. Through this program, I applied and got accepted into a Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) Summer Cardiovascular Research Internship Program at the Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering at Rice University, preparing me for the next step of my education and career.

That internship has changed my perspective on research. I had always thought research was not for me because I assumed it would be mostly reading research papers. However, after experiencing working in a lab and presenting my own data, I would love to incorporate research in my future academic career.


How did you get involved with the Institute of Biosciences and Bioengineering (IBB) Summer Undergraduate Research opportunity at Rice University?

The REU program at Rice University required me to present my research at the IBB Summer Undergraduate Research opportunity, along with other undergraduates and graduate students.


What information did you present at the IBB and how did this experience impact your future?

I presented my research titled “Relationship between Quorum Sensing and Rhamnolipid Vesicle Production in Pseudomonas aeruginosa.” The purpose was to assess how P. aeruginosa damages host cells during infection. Evaluating the regulation of rhamnolipid production can help identify novel drug targets to combat multidrug-resistant P. aeruginosa.

This particular research project enables me to grasp the intricacies of how virulence factors, generated by certain bacteria called Pseudomonas aeruginosa, contribute to the development of severe infections in immunocompromised patients and those with cystic fibrosis or burn wounds.


How or why did you choose the American Heart Associate Summer Cardiovascular Research Internship Program?

Despite applying to three REU programs, the American Heart Association Summer Cardiovascular Research Internship Program was my first choice because this specific program is associated with the medical field. As someone who dreams of being a pediatrician and hopefully incorporating cancer research in my future academic career, I wanted to choose a program that would allow me to experience research related to my area of interest.


What is your future career field, why did you choose it, and what do you hope to accomplish?

My future career is to be a pediatrician because ever since I could remember, I have always wanted to be a STEM major and choose a career in the medical science field.

After I lost my grandfather to stage four prostate cancer, it made me 100% sure that I wanted to become a doctor. Furthermore, since I love being around children, I decided to specialize in childcare.

It has always been my dream and goal in life to be able to save people. I hope to be a doctor who will impact people’s lives.


What are your academic and career plans?

I plan to graduate from the University of Houston in spring 2025 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology. Afterward, I plan to attend medical school, become a pediatrician and work at a well-known hospital.

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