Yahaida Camacho-Lopez


  • Time Zone

  • Organization
    University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez Campus

  • Role
    Scientist Mentor: I will mentor teams of students online

  • Research Interests (300 words)
    I am a botanist (MS.c. Biology) with special interest in tropical cloud forests, endemic and/or endangered plant species, pteridology, tree ferns and plant conservation.

  • Profile Question 1
    What is tough about being a scientist?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 1 here (300 words):
    Being a scientist is amazing. Once the university prepares you with the necessary tools you need to understand nature, you just must motivate yourself, and with a little curiosity you can discover things that no one else has. Saying it is easy, doing it is not. My research experience has taught me that going out to the world and studying something for a period of time can be challenging and somewhat stressing. First, if you are under a mentor and need a topic of study, your topic must be approved by your mentor. For it to be approved you need the topic to be practical and on an affordable budget. Also, it should be made in within a realistic length of time. That is why you need to plan everything, and even if you plan it, sometimes things go wrong and make mistakes. It is natural for experiments to go wrong sometimes, or even have loss of data. If that happens, you must be honest and talk with your mentor about what happened and, with his/her help try to find solutions for that problem. Possible solutions for the problem must be discussed having in mind different ways of solving it. Also, disagreements can occur between you and your mentor, and maybe he/she wants you to embark on a different road of achieving your goals, or even a totally different subject of study. This can be frustrating but you must have patience and the willingness to start over again if necessary. I believe that a research that is done with two or more people constantly giving suggestions on how to make things function better needs constant communication between the peers. By doing this, then the research hopefully can be done and the results that are obtained could be utilized for further studies or discussions. Being a scientist is hard work, but it is worth it. If you are persistent, motivated, creative, thoughtful and communicative with your peers then you can grow as a scientist and share your knowledge with other people.

  • Profile Question 2
    When and why did you decide to go into a science career?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 2 here (300 words):
    I decided to go into a science career when I was in High school. At the beginning, I was interested to study Biology because I wanted to be a doctor (cardiovascular surgeon). On my first year of university I still wanted to go to medicine school. It was on the second year of college, when I took the plant biology course that I began to have an interest in plants. After that course, I took all the botany related courses the biology department had to offer. I also began talking with professors about my interest in joining their research laboratories for undergraduate research experience. After I took the briology course I joined the briology laboratory and even went on field trips to help graduate students gather moss samples, etc. There I learned to utilize a dichotomous key and to identify mosses in the stereoscope. Then, I realized that I preferred field work rather than laboratory work. That is why when I started my graduate studies I focused on studying a plant species in the wild, in their own natural habitat rather than gathering samples and studying them in the laboratory. I know that part is also important if you are for example, studying DNA samples or trying to count how many different species of amoebas there are in different water samples. As a graduate student I began to be more in contact with the herbarium and all the work that its done inside of it. I find that gathering specimens and processing them for conservation or future reference purposes. That is what science is all about, gathering useful information that could be utilized in the future to help nature. It is important to provide students with the necessary skills and tools so they can use them and pass them to their future generations.

  • Profile Question 3
    Can you describe your attitude toward science when you were in high school?

  • Answer the question you selected for profile question 3 here (300 words):
    In high school, my attitude towards science was not a good one at all. I took biology in tenth grade and I did not like it much. I am not quite sure if the teacher did not motivate me or if I was not interested in biology at all. Even if I was not that motivated, I always did my homework and got good grades in that course. The only part of the course that I used to like was the Mendelian genetics because they were easy to understand, at least for me. I believe that was because it was taught as practical exercises, and that way it was easier for me to internalize the information. I also took chemistry and physics when I was in high school. I used to love chemistry, and I still do. The teacher was sweet and patient with her students. I really loved going to that classroom. What I like about this course is that you can put it into practice (ie. make stuff) and experiment with chemicals and observe the results in a laboratory. In the physics class, I suffered a lot because the topics where very abstract and I could not understand them at all. But, the teacher offered the opportunity to participate in an essay competition about the water cycle. I chose to participate and I did the essay for the “water week” regarding the hydrologic process of water. This essay gave me the opportunity to compliment science with poetry and try to write about a natural process of nature in both a scientific and a poetic way. I won first price (along with another student) and a professor from the physics department of the university where I later went to study gave me a certificate. This encouraged me to study a career in science at that university.

  • Availability
    I am NOT available, please temporarily remove me from the available mentor list

Recent Posts

wmacostfall2019 project 3 Yahaida Camacho-Lopez

Good observations! 

wmacostfall2019 project 3 Yahaida Camacho-Lopez

I like the organization of your data. Keep the good work. Let me know what your conclusions are when you are ready. 

wmacostfall2019 project 3 Yahaida Camacho-Lopez

Really interesting! Why do you think that containers with fewers seeds grow more easily than containers with more seeds? 

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