What is your position at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln?
Assistant Professor of Molecular Virology
What drew you to the University of Nebraska–Lincoln?
In 2013, in Science, there was an ad for an assistant professor position at the Department of Plant Pathology and the Nebraska Center for Virology. The Department and the Center are world-class institutions and together they provided an opportunity to establish an independent research group, which was an outstanding opportunity.
What aspect of working in an educational setting do you enjoy the most?
I enjoy mentoring undergraduate and graduate students, teaching graduate-level classes, publishing papers, participating in scientific meetings and being part of grant review panels. These are venues to make a positive impact on student’s lives, on society and on conservation of the environment.
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
I am the oldest of seven siblings, growing up on a farm family in a small town in central Mexico. The school system there only offered up to sixth grade. Approximately 95 percent of kids in my generation, immigrated illegally to the USA shortly after the sixth grade. Due to the absence of financial support from my family, my education was supposed to stop at sixth grade followed most likely by an attempt to cross into the USA undocumented. However, a merit-based scholarship gave me the opportunity to attend middle school, which was followed by merit-based scholarship to the National High School for Agriculture, a merit-based scholarship to the National University of Agriculture in Chapingo, and merit-based scholarship from the National Science Foundation to attend graduate school. That was my ticket to come to the USA as a graduate student. These efforts ended with a Helen Hay Whitney postdoctoral fellowship. Thus, my education from middle school to the initiation of my appointment as an assistant professor was made possible by scholarships/fellowships.
What is your life like outside of work?
I love nature and sports. I enjoy going to parks and stadiums with my wife and daughters, as well as playing/coaching soccer…from AYSO to high school, and adult leagues, highly competitive or recreational.