Student Spotlight: Mariely Medina

Mariely Medina headshot

~ May 11, 2020 ~

Mariely Medina is a doctoral candidate in food science and technology from Cayey, Puerto Rico. After earning a B.S. and M.S. from the University of Puerto Rico at Mayaguez, she chose to pursue further study at Cornell due to the learning possibilities, flexibility, and community in the field of food science.

What is your area of research, and why is it important?

I’m working on an innovative assay to improve the detection of a group of bacteria used as an indicator of fecal contamination on drinking water, as required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

The main goal of my research is to develop an improved method to detect these bacteria indicators, reducing the rate of waterborne enteric illnesses. Current EPA approved methods take 18 hours to days, require a lab, and produce a high rate of false-negatives. In its final form, an individual will open a kit, follow instructions, and get accurate results in less than eight hours without the need for a lab or expensive equipment.


What have you gained by participating in the NextGen Professors Program?

When the goal looks as far as completing a Ph.D., it is necessary to celebrate and acknowledge the small accomplishments. The NextGen Professors Program helped me see the goal as a chain made out of small pieces, not a straight line. In every meeting, we gain knowledge from other people’s experiences on career paths and we are encouraged to reevaluate ourselves in a kind manner. […]

Read Mariely Medina’s full spotlight on the Graduate School website