Scholar Spotlight: Anarina Le Murillo

Postdoctoral Fellow, Nutrition Obesity Research Center at the University of Alabama at Birmingham

’16 Sloan Scholar PhD in Applied Mathematics from Arizona State University

1.      What has being a Sloan Scholar meant to you?

As a Sloan Scholar, I have become part of a greater network and support system. It is really encouraging to meet other mentors, scholars, and Sloan-affiliated staff and members who support each other, and who have supported me. At the Institute on Teaching and Mentoring, I had the chance to meet other mentors and scholars, who offered me support and advice, which really helped me finish my studies.

2.      As a postdoc, what is the ONE piece of advice you would give to Sloan Scholars on the cusp of graduating?

Be open minded and flexible about exploring new opportunities even if they are outside of your field of expertise or comfort zone. These opportunities will help you learn and grow (especially during transition periods) and will give you exposure to different areas that you may not have considered before.

3.      Who is the mentor in your life—at any point of your education—that has most had an impact on your success, and why them? 

My mentor and advisor Professor Carlos Castillo-Chavez has influenced my career trajectory the most. Professor Castillo-Chavez is a dedicated mentor and is an advocate for increasing diversity in academia. He opens doors and creates opportunities for all students, and particularly underrepresented minorities, to pursue research and graduate training in applied mathematics. It was through MTBI (Mathematical and Theoretical Biology Institute) where I contributed to my first math-biology research project and decided afterwards to pursue a degree in applied mathematics. Professor Castillo-Chavez continued to support me on my journey and was always willing to offer me advice when I needed it most.

4.      What is the last article/book/news on any topic (academic or not) you heard or read that excited you? Briefly tell us about it.

I recently read a news article about a group of researchers who wanted to understand what was happening inside a football player’s skull following head impact exposures. They used data collected by mouth guards with motion sensors in order to model and simulate the brain’s reaction to a head impact. I thought their approach to studying brain damage and brain injuries was very interesting.

5.      What do you like to do for fun that has nothing to do with your work?

I love music and recently, I have been making time to learn (and re-learn) some musical instruments.

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