Molecular and Developmental Biology Graduate Program

  • Chelsea Tolentino

    Chelsea Tolentino.Undergraduate Institution: Grambling State University, Grambling, LA

    ALOHA from Cincinnati!

    The transition into life as a graduate student has been quite the adventure.  As you may have noticed, I was born and raised on the island of O’ahu in the great state of Hawai’i.  Although leaving Hawai’i was a little heartbreaking, the opportunities that overflowed in the following years presented me with a chance to find myself in a place where scientific research and medicine are delicately intertwined.  I was introduced to research opportunities during summer internships at various institutions, while attending Grambling State University, an HBCU (Historically Black College and University) in north Louisiana.

    Prior to becoming a trainee here at Cincinnati Children’s, I worked as a research assistant at Vanderbilt University studying vascular biology.  My experience and relationships formed in this particular lab painted me the picture of how rewarding a career in research can ultimately become.  As I was searching for institutions to pursue my training, a recent MDB graduate who was collaborating with my lab mentioned this program to me.  I was eager to apply because a search of Cincinnati Children’s yields one of the top-ranked medical institutions in the country, highlighting various research interests and the many opportunities to study development of disease in various organ systems.  There was also a video! There are not many programs that provide a video starring potential mentors and current students talking about their research and life in Cincinnati. 

    As a single parent, my first year was definitely challenging, but my interactions with the some of the faculty, staff and other students showed me that they really have an interest in my success, something I can totally appreciate and enjoy about the individuals that encompass this wonderful program. The highlight of working at Children’s is the collaborative efforts shared between investigators and clinicians to push the field of biomedical research and medicine forward.  Our program combines different areas of research within graduate programs that may stand alone at other institutions, allowing trainees to appreciate the breadth of knowledge flowing in and out of this research foundation.

    Overall, Cincinnati is a city people with different styles can truly enjoy.  If you are a lover of music, sports, running (lots of runners here), nature, different types of food, seeker of adventure, etc. you will love what the city has to offer.  I am truly blessed to have chosen this program to pursue my graduate studies and establish yet another home away from Hawai’i.