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Anabel discusses her independent project, which examined the knee-jerk relfex, with Associate Professor of Biology Fidelma O’Leary.

New World, New Skills

In her human physiology lab, Anabel tests the patellar reflex, also known as the knee-jerk reflex, on her lab partner for her independent project.

16 ST. EDWARD’S UNIVERSITY

Anabel wasted no time making her mark in the classroom once she arrived at St. Edward’s. She used every resource available to propel herself to the top of the class, says Associate Professor of Biology Trish Baynham, who had Anabel as a student in two of her courses. “She attended Supplemental Instruction sessions, studied consistently and intensely, and organized herself well. She wasn’t afraid to ask questions.” She happily took advantage of CAMP’s many support services, from free tutoring to informal advice from CAMP staff members. Anabel’s curiosity, intelligence and work ethic were among the many reasons Baynham chose her to participate in a summer research project, funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Anabel will present the results of her research, which examined wash treatments designed to make contaminated spinach safer, at least one conference this year. CAMP director Esther Yacono has similar praise for Anabel’s work ethic — though she occasionally presses her to take an afternoon or two to relax and enjoy the full college experience. “She’s upbeat and self-sufficient, but she’s so focused on her studies that she sometimes forgets to take time for herself,” Yacono says. “She’s so good

and so smart that I just want to remind her that it will be years before she becomes a doctor, so she needs to make sure she doesn’t burn out.” Anabel simply doesn’t want to miss any possible opportunity. “I haven’t always made time just to hang out,” she admits. “I’m serious about school. But sometimes I might watch a movie.” Academically, Anabel was prepared for anything her professors could throw at her, but she realized right away that school was much more than books and blackboards. Campus served up some serious culture shock along with its academic requirements. “I’d been accustomed to being around Hispanics. I’d never been around other minorities, other majorities,” she says. She couldn’t understand, for example, how there might be anyone who would take school less seriously than she did or why some students were paid by their parents for good grades. And while the differences were jarring at first, she spent time listening to fellow students’ perspectives and sharing hers. It wasn’t long before she began sharing more than just her opinions. When her parents visited her at school last year, her mom agreed to cook a meal for the students who lived in her hall. Anabel taught her hall mates some “Tex-Mex” vocabulary that she and friends used back home. And she patiently taught Baynham how to make homemade tortillas, a skill Baynham has since used to wow others. “My husband and I were dining at a restaurant recently, and he insisted that my tortillas were better than the ones we were eating, and this is thanks to Anabel,” she says. Anabel is doing more than bringing her hometown vernacular and authentic Tex-Mex cooking to campus. She’s started to build a pipeline that’s sending promising students from her hometown to St. Edward’s. Last fall, she went back to her high school, Rio Grande City High, and gave a presentation about St. Edward’s. Her speech was so compelling it convinced Melissa Olivares ’15 to jettison her plans to go to another school. “She’s one of the best students I’ve ever met, and after she told me about how great the people were and how beautiful the campus was, it made me want to go there,” says Olivares.

St. Edward’s University Magazine Winter 2012  

In this issue of St. Edward’s University Magazine: Students photograph Texas high-school football for the Bob Bullock Texas State History Mu...

St. Edward’s University Magazine Winter 2012  

In this issue of St. Edward’s University Magazine: Students photograph Texas high-school football for the Bob Bullock Texas State History Mu...