SAN FRANCISCO – From a simple fascination with chemistry after high school, Filipino-American April Lynn Toledo has come a long way.
Toledo was chosen by San Francisco State University to represent her peers as the top graduate student of the College of Science and Engineering in this year’s commencement ceremonies.
"I’ve always been good with numbers and I always thought very logically and I’ve loved putting pieces of a puzzle together. So when I took my first chemistry class it blew my mind," Toledo said.
Toledo is pursuing a career in bio-physics or structural biology where she researches the causes of diseases.
"One of the first things in understanding how to help or to make change is you need to understand the structure of it, how it’s organized and then you could really tackle how to prevent that from happening," said Toledo.
Toledo shares that while her choice of study was different she still received continuous support from her family.
"My mother did want me to become a nurse or an accountant, one or the other. But when I told her I was interested in chemistry and in the sciences she was all for it," she said.
Toledo has received fellowships from the National Institute of Health and the National Science Foundation which she says has motivated her to advocate for more female scholars.
"I actually developed a workshop for Expanding Your Horizons which is an organization geared toward getting middle school girls into the sciences and that was really interesting and fun," said Toledo.
She hopes that one day more Pinays can be represented in the scientific field.
"One thing that I could say is to surround yourself with people who believe in you and to surround yourself with people who challenge you. Once you are faced with challenges you need people to build up your confidence so you know you can do what you set your mind to do," said Toledo.
Toledo has been accepted into PhD programs at several top research schools and her thesis work is being readied for publication.
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