Janielle Cuala, 2018 Goldwater Honorable Mention

May 8, 2018

2018 Honorable Mention,
The Barry Goldwater Scholarship

Janielle Cuala
Major: Biochemistry
College and Graduation Year:
Natural and Social Sciences, Class of 2019

What are your future career goals?

I plan to pursue my Ph.D. in a biomedical field after receiving my B.S. in Biochemistry. After obtaining my Ph.D., I plan to go back home to Guam. I want to be able to give students a choice to pursue their STEM dreams and continue my research in Guam to establish credibility. My goal for Guam would be to create Ph.D. programs targeted to aid STEM students with great potential and provide them with opportunities. 

What motivated you to apply and what were some of the challenges?

I applied last year with the push of my Principle Investigator (PI), Dr. Cecilia-Zurita Lopez, and the previous Cal State LA Goldwater Representative, Cassidy Zimmerman. They both helped me throughout the entire process. This year, my PI as well as Dr. Scott Wells, Associate Director of the Honors College, directed me throughout the process. Another motivating factor was that I wanted to raise the diversity of science through my being a Filipina from Guam. Also, I did not get any recognition last year, so I wanted to try again. A challenge I faced both times was writing the research plan because I had to create a concise document that went into the detail of my current research, but a broad enough description so a general audience could understand. Another challenge was time management due to classes and research conflicting, it was and still is a bit hard to keep track of scholarship deadlines.

How has this scholarship affected your career goals and ambitions?

Being an honorable mention has been a great achievement that many people have recognized. I have used information from the essays and research plan that I made for this scholarship to apply to other programs and scholarships. I am now going to attend Caltech’s Amgen Program this summer to do research. Overall, this scholarship has helped me with my writing process in general, which is a skill needed for my current and future goals. I have also been able to raise some people’s awareness about Filipinos and Guamanians in science which is my ultimate goal.

What is a cause you’re passionate about? Is this cause related to your career goals?

I am very passionate about raising awareness about science especially to underrepresented people and the younger generation. I am the current Vice President of the Chemistry and Biochemistry Club at Cal State LA, and we bring in children from nearby elementary and middle schools to do science experiment demos, as well as to talk to them about college. The Chem Club brings awareness to kids and promotes that science is exciting, and they can all have a career in science if they want. I am also part of Cal State LA’s MORE program through the MARC program where they provide research support to underrepresented students. The MORE program has inspired me to create a program like this in Guam, to help aid students who have a great potential in science to do research and be exposed to opportunities for Ph.D.s. These are all related to my career goals as I want to get my Ph.D., and I would like everyone who wants to pursue one to not to be discouraged due to being underrepresented.

What advice would you give to future applicants of this scholarship or any scholarship?

Start early! Last year, I just transferred from community college to Cal State LA, and it was a bit harder for me to keep with the deadlines. However, this year I started much earlier and kept up with the deadlines. Starting the whole application earlier enables you to get different people to revise the essays, as well as the research plan and having enough time to ask your letter writers to write a persuasive letter for you. I suggest making deadlines for yourself as to when to work on the scholarship, so you work on your schedule.

What would people be surprised to know about you?

I was born and raised in Guam, moved to California to start college at Saint Mary’s College of California in the North, transferred to Los Angeles Community College, and now Cal State LA. I used to play many sports including basketball, volleyball, soccer, and rugby! I love traveling and eating food (especially sushi).

Any other information you would like to mention or include that wasn’t asked here:

I feel like the big differences in my application from this year and last year were letters of recommendations and the revision of my essays. Make sure to pick people who are currently doing research as a facuty member at a school to increase your chances. Also, as I have mentioned the revision of the writing made a big difference.


For more information on The Barry Goldwater Scholarship: https://goldwater.scholarsapply.org/ or for more application information, including campus deadlines, contact the NISFeP office at [email protected]