CAROLINE HERNANDEZ-CASNER

First-year, PIBS

Hometown: El Paso, TX


Tell us about yourself!

“I was born and raised in the boarder town of El Paso where it’s sunny 302 days out of the year. Growing up Hispanic, the majority of my family didn’t understand the importance of women getting an education. In fact, they expected me to get married and have kids before I turned 20 and which was the case for most of my cousins. However, my grandmother, not being able to get an education herself, really instilled in me the importance of education even at a very young age.”

 

What three words would you choose to describe yourself?

“Dedicated, artistic, and passionate.”

 

What is your favorite thing about your current program?

“I love how passionate everyone is about their research. Not only does that give me motivation to continue but it also shows how happy people are in their field of work.”

What factors or interests led you to choose your current program or field?

“My childhood best friend’s younger sister developed schizophrenia at about 18 years old. She just turned 20 this year, and it is honestly so hard to see her in the condition she is and to know that her life has been cut so short because of her illness. Unfortunately, the current medications available have not been successful for her and although I most likely won’t be able to help her specifically, I do hope to be able to one day contribute to the science behind mental illnesses.

How do you de-stress?

“I take my dog out for a pretty long walk or just a quick workout always boosts my mood.”

Tell us about a challenge you ran into in your educational training and how you overcame it.

“One of the hardest decisions of my life was deciding to move to Michigan for grad school. I had never lived outside of Texas, let alone more than a 30 minute drive away from my grandmother. The first two months were the hardest and I have never experienced homesickness like I did during that time. It really effected my mental health which in turn effected my education and my attitude towards continuing. Luckily, after a lot of phone calls and facetimes with family, I slowly began to remember why I wanted this in the first place!”

What is your greatest source of inspiration to keep pushing toward completing your goals?

“I have three younger siblings who mean the world to me and I want to set the example that you can do anything you put your mind to so long as you put in the effort.”

What is the best advice someone gave you that you still use today?

“Someone once told me to “never forget that time is short and dwelling on things you can’t control is a waste of it”.

What advice would you give to an aspiring scientist?

“It’s okay to feel scared and stressed because I guarantee you everyone feels that way. Just don’t forget to talk to people about how you’re feeling and don’t let go of the things that make you happy just because you may feel like you don’t have time for it. Make time.”

Can students and trainees contact you directly?

“Yes, of course! I’m a fantastic listener and have been told I give great advice. You can contact me at chcasner@umich.edu.”

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Spotlights are created with the help of Nnamdi Edokobi, third-year PhD candidate, Pharmacology Department.