By Maegan Murray, WSU Tri-Cities

Adriana-GuzmanRICHLAND, Wash. – Education is helping Adriana Guzman pursue her dream of becoming a doctor, so she chose a summer research project about educating the next generation of environmental scientists. The focus isn’t health science, but she still found common ground.

“For example, air quality could be a real damaging factor in the future,” said Guzman, a Washington State University Tri-Cities biological sciences student. “It could grow to be a major problem in the health care industry.

“That’s something that relates to my future career as a doctor,” she said. “I can help educate kids on that topic.”

Guzman was one of 13 students selected by the Northwest Advanced Renewables Alliance (NARA), one of several summer undergraduate research experience programs offered through WSU. She created lesson plans for the McCall (Idaho) Outdoor Science School, an extension program of the University of Idaho.

“I don’t necessarily want to be an educator, as I have always been more focused on health care,” she said. “But I was given this opportunity, and I’ve learned to appreciate how everything comes together.

“Being out here, in the wild, learning how to put these lesson plans together, you realize just how much everything is connected,” she said. “I’m learning while teaching these kids. Everyone benefits.”

Because her education has allowed her to be successful, she wants other students’ educations to help them achieve their goals. The lesson plans she created will be used to teach middle school and high school students about a variety of ongoing scientific research.

And she has enjoyed interacting with the students.

“I do some evening programs,” she said. “I also have taken the kids on hikes and taught them the scientific method. It’s been a lot of fun.”

After graduating from WSU Tri-Cities, Guzman said, she hopes to attend the new WSU medical school before pursuing a career as an obstetrician.