"During my high school years, I did not appreciate education."
"But I had a physics teacher during my junior year that was very passionate about science and persuaded me to apply to college. When I came to DePaul, I had to work hard to catch up on my math and physics knowledge. Participating in the Chicago Initiative for Research and Recruitment in Undergraduate Science (CIRRUS) program my sophomore year at DePaul helped me develop my passion for physics. Even though the program is no longer around, Rhonda Harley (the former program director) continues to influence me and has given me guidance beyond measure."
"Being a McNair Scholar means being part of a community full of serious researchers."
"It means that when I speak with potential faculty research mentors, they know that I am prepared to undertake graduate research. McNair has given me the opportunity to attend a physics GRE preparation conference at the University of California-Santa Cruz. I also completed the Summer Research Opportunity Program at the University of California-Berkeley and attended the Berkeley McNair Symposium. At the symposium, I got valuable practice giving oral and poster presentations of my research. Additionally, being in the program taught me about graduate school requirements and the skills necessary to become marketable to graduate physics programs.
"I participate in a large community of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) scholars through organizations such as the Society for Advancement of Hispanics/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science. The organization holds a national conference each year where I've networked with faculty from universities across the country. I also met people who have opened doors for me like the summer research program at Berkeley.
"The Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (LSAMP) also has helped me tremendously. It is because of the LSAMP program at Chicago State University (CSU) that I was able to travel to Dublin, Ireland, for 10 days where I met the Nobel Laureate Dr. James Watsons and heard the director of CERN (The European Organization for Nuclear Research), Rolf-Dieter Heuer, speak about the Higgs-Boson Particle. Every year the LSAMP organization at CSU hosts a local conference where students present their research. I won awards for my research presentations two years in a row: a third place poster presentation award in 2013 and a first place oral presentation award in 2014."
"Nothing was going to hold me back from pursuing a graduate education in physics."
"My path to success came with a few downfalls. The first summer I applied for internships, I was rejected by each program. Then, as I was trying to set up an independent research project with a faculty member at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, he told me that my grades were not good enough. This rejection became motivation for me. I wanted to strive for the best education possible with the resources I had available. I wanted to prove that nothing was going to hold me back from pursuing a graduate education in physics. My family always wanted me to do well in high school and get a good college education, however they disagree with my decision to go to graduate school. Regardless, they are still supportive of me and my educational goals.
"I will begin a PhD program in physics at University of California-Berkeley this fall. I hope to become a professor of physics and conduct research. The fact that I can see my goals coming into fruition gives me a great measure of confidence and a great sense of humility. There is a saying that it takes a village to raise a child. The science community at DePaul is my village. This community is the real reason I am successful. I have an obligation to help young scientists coming behind me because that is what people have done for me."
Trevor graduated from DePaul in spring 2014 and is attending the University of California-Berkeley to pursue a PhD in Physics.