Lina Crisostomo is a Biological Sciences major and Health Administration minor in the College of Science who is on the pre-health track student, aiming to go to medical school and become a physician. Cristosomo has held leadership roles in student groups and is a member of the college’s Soar-in-4 cohort of high-achieving students, as well as the Undergraduate Research Training Initiative for Student Enhancement (U-RISE) program funded by the National Institutes of Health. The U-RISE program promotes diversity in biomedical science, by engaging students in a customized research-intensive undergraduate experience.
Crisostomo describes her experience as an undergraduate researcher, “During your first year working with U-RISE you work with the Principal Investigators who and graduate students in their lab. I started working with Alex Keene, an associate professor of biology, on the Jupiter campus this fall. I work with him and his team on cavefish studies.” She is specifically working on how cavefish respond to a stimulus, to determine their “startle response.” The cavefish evolved in an environment void of light, and because of this life with no sunlight, they are blind and respond differently compared to the same species of fish who do not live in caves.
“We are at the initial stages of our study to learn about the stimulus responses of cavefish. It’s amazing working with Alex and his team. I am thrilled to be working in the U-RISE program, which creates a community with the students and researchers in the programs,” says Lina.
Part of Lina’s involvement at FAU included serving as associate director for SAVI (Students Advocating Volunteering Involvement) in the summer of 2020. Lina remarks, “It was an amazing experience and I learned a lot about volunteer programs, leadership, and getting involved.” Crisostomo was also a member of the American Medical Student Association and the Health Occupations Students of America.
“The Soar-in-4 program is great. I met other students on the same path, and we help each other out, and support each other on this journey to medical school,” Lina shares. She goes on to say, “Fellow students have been super motivating and we even have Zoom calls to check in on each other and share opportunities. There is a strong sense of community, everyone’s determined, with a great work ethic, even though this can be a competitive environment when you are on your way to medical school. I am really happy to be part of this group.”
Lina shares her thoughts on the Pre-Health Office, who supports her each step of the way, saying, “The Pre-Health advisors are not just advisors, it’s not just about the classes I take, they truly care about my success, and really helped with my journey. They help me meet milestones and goals for medical school, and it’s really nice to feel that support. They have the end-goal in mind, and it’s nice to feel supported and have that team to provide helping hands.”