ASU biochemistry student excels in biomedical research

Editor's note: This profile is part of a series of profiles showcasing students in the School of Molecular Sciences.

Sidney Covarrubias is a molecular sciences student majoring in biochemistry with an interest in medicine. She plans to become a doctor and participate in Doctors without Borders. Covarrubias is a student at Barrett, The Honors College, and has given back to her community as a community assistant for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, an ASU tour guide through Devils’ Advocates, an academic tutor for USAP and more.

Covarrubias has not only conducted undergraduate research the School of Molecular Sciences, but this summer she participated in the extremely prestigious Helios Scholars at TGen summer internship program in biomedical research. She worked with the University of Arizona College of Medicine to create a paper-based microfluidic device that can detect the infectious disease melioidosis and later presented her project results and accomplishments at a formal research symposium.

Question: When did you first realize that you wanted to study the field you are majoring in?

Answer: I realized I wanted to study biochemistry after being exposed to my first semester of organic chemistry. Having taken general biology and chemistry courses, I always felt that I was missing information or was merely being given facts about the way in which the body works. Taking organic chemistry helped me finally realize where everything truly came from and the concepts from prior classes made more sense, and I knew that a field that goes down to a molecular level explanation of science was the right fit for me. 

Q: Why did you choose ASU?

A: I chose to come to ASU after a tour given by Devils’ Advocates (a student organization that introduces prospective students to ASU). I truly felt like the campus and the many opportunities, especially research opportunities, both at the university and nearby would allow me to dive into what I loved. In addition to this, I was accepted into Barrett, The Honors College, which gave me the challenge as an undergraduate to develop a senior thesis. Overall, I felt that ASU offered everything I was looking for, made me feel safe and challenged me all at the same time. 

Q: What research opportunities have you had as a student here, and can you describe your research experience?

A: My first research lab was working with ways in which to combat type II diabetes by changing insulin dosages. In addition to this, I also participated in a study analyzing stereotypes individuals hold based on their access to water and water pollution. After gaining research experience, I applied to the Helios program at the Translational Genomic Research institute and obtained the opportunity to become a summer intern. Over the summer, I worked with the University of Arizona College of Medicine creating a paper-based microfluidic device that could detect the infectious disease melioidosis. My research experience here at ASU opened up opportunities for me that I did not consider possible. It helped me learn a lot of basic terminology and skills that have helped me not only in research, but in my courses here at ASU.

Q: What are some extracurricular activities that you enjoy at ASU? 

A: I am currently a community assistant for the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, an ASU tour guide through Devils’ Advocates, an academic tutor for USAP, a counselor for Camp Kesem and a volunteer for Hospice of the Valley. In the past, I was also part of the Medical Women’s Association, Power in Youth, and Barrett Choir. I love getting involved on campus and trying new activities. In addition to this, I love to go to the Sun Devil Fitness Center and participate in the group fitness classes, which is not only a great way to de-stress, but also make new friends.

Q: What’s something you have learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?

A: In all sincerity, I have learned that change and challenges are part of becoming a better student and person. I have always been a planner and consistent in the way in which I go about life, but the opportunities that I have been given at ASU have pushed me and challenged me into accepting that at times we cannot control everything and that challenges can be blessings. I would advise students interested in coming to ASU to study chemistry or biochemistry to always keep their options open, because their college experience might change their future career path for the better.


Rachel Lee
School of Molecular Sciences