University Culture

Connect with Us

Korenna Estes

Hometown: Rialto, CA

Major: Biology

Graduation Date: Spring, 2020

Career Plans: Research Scientist

Becoming a Role Model to Family, Friends, and Myself

If you told my younger self that in the future I would go to college, conduct research in the Canadian Arctic, research with a neurobiology professor on campus, and even go to Malaysia and Singapore to study mental health, I wouldn’t have believed it for a second. Growing up, I had the mindset of not attending college. This was a decision I made at a young age, simply because I knew my family couldn’t afford it and everyone I knew directly began working at a job after high school. I had this mindset during all my years of education, until one day in my Junior year I took Biology. In a flash, I fell in love with Biology. I loved looking through microscopes and seeing cells divide. I loved dissecting animals and learning about the women in science who persevered through barriers to show their passion in chemistry, biology, physics, and math. Biology was the first hands-on class I ever had and showed me that education was more than just reading and taking tests. It was an evolving science that had many sub-disciplines you could dive into.

Finding this passion was life changing, because I knew I could attain this dream with hard work. Immediately, I reached out to my counselors at school and began to apply for scholarships, financial aid, and joined a yearlong program to learn about college. With a year of applying and working hard to get to college, I was proud when I found out of my acceptance to several colleges and received an $18,000 scholarship!

Now, as a senior at CSUCI and a first generation Latina woman studying Biology, I’m taking the next step in my education by applying to graduate school. I hope to attain my master’s degree or PhD and conduct further research in neuroscience or oceanography. If there is any advice I could give, it is to apply to every opportunity you’re able to, because you never know how much it will change your life. Finding a path to college was not easy, but it was one of the most rewarding experiences I still carry to this day.