Aida Almanza

Aida Almanza is a Science Bound scholar, peer mentor, a 2023 graduate in kinesiology and health - and landed an internship with the USDA because of her found passion in microbiology as part of her education.

Aida Almanza’s journey to Iowa State started in ninth grade when a teacher recommended she join Science Bound.

Science Bound is the university’s pre-college program that engages youth in Iowa to help increase the number of minoritized students who pursue degrees and careers in agriculture, science, technology, engineering, math and education.

As part of the program, Almanza went on several campus visits and ultimately chose the College of Human Sciences kinesiology and health program. She credits choosing Iowa State because of how welcomed she felt by advisors on her visit and the strong educational path that would prepare her for medical school.

“When I took microbiology lab, I absolutely loved it,” Almanza said.

Coupled with her newfound love for microbiology, Almanza watched Hulu’s hit show, The Hot Zone: Anthrax that features theUnited States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases.

“I just really loved what microbiologists did {in the show},” Almanza commented. “My head lab professor mentioned there was an opening for the USDA to work for them as an intern. I applied and got the news in January that I had gotten the job.” Almanza said.

Because she finished her undergraduate education in three years and wants to further explore her passion for research, she plans to spend a year with the USDA’s National Laboratory for Agriculture and the Environment. She will then decide if her long-term goals include a doctorate in a research field or medical school.

When Almanza breaks down what it means to be a Science Bound scholar, she looks at how impactful getting an education is and not letting outside influences get in your way.

“It means success, determination and being very disciplined,” Almanza said. “I feel, as a first-gen, sometimes that’s kind of hard because there are other obstacles that kind of get in the way of your education.”

There is no mistaking her motivation when it comes to her studies and how being a first-generation college student drives her forward.

It’s even inspired her siblings.

“My brother is actually here at Iowa State as well, but I am glad that I was able to really inspire them to further their education for a better future,” Almanza said. “There is that motivation part that is like ‘oh yeah, no one in my family really went to college’ but it is something to be proud of.”

Almanza is part of Iowa State’s spring 2023 graduating class with a degree in kinesiology and health.

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