Ryn Gonzalez 

I really found a sense of community with STEM Club. You have people who understand what you’re doing and what you want to succeed in. 

Ryn Gonzalez Student Story Profile Picture.


Degree/Certificate & Class Year 
Associate in Science Transfer Biology 2024 

Moxee, Wash. 

High School Attended 
East Valley 


Extracurriculars (e.g., clubs, YVC sports teams) 

What three words would you use to describe YVC? 
Fun, Knowledgeable, Time Consuming  

What’s your favorite class? Why? How has it expanded your knowledge? 
General Biology with Lab for Health Sciences (BIOL& 160) with Matthew Loeser, it was one of my first true STEM courses and, although it was difficult when we got into mitosis and metaphase, I was intrigued because it showed you how the body truly worked and about the origins of mankind. I found it very interesting and it piqued my knowledge and made me focus my future on becoming a fertility specialist.   

Who is your mentor on campus? Why do you consider this person your mentor? 
[STEM Director] Cristy Rasmussen has been my mentor on campus. Cristy is my go-to person. I’ll shoot her a text or I’ll e-mail her and she’s very consistent and will respond back fast. I feel like I’m being seen and heard [when working with Cristy] so I usually go to her for most of my things. I also always see her at STEM meetings and she’s, like, always there and so I just gravitate towards her. 

What made you want to come to YVC? 
I think after COVID I realized for myself, both mentally and physically, and also for family, attending YVC was the right fit. I feel like YVC has a lot of options [for transfer] with other schools and they also do really try to focus on building your CV and your resume and giving you many opportunities to build connections more than you’d get at a big university. 

How did you decide on a major? 
I want to be a doctor so I decided to major in biology because when I took the course I realized I was really intrigued and it felt that if I liked it I might as well stick with it. 

Are there any barriers that you’ve overcome to be successful at YVC? Please describe. 
I’m a Mexican American and [in my culture] it is very hard to establish the rules of needing to put myself first. I feel like my first year I did not do that, and it set me back a bit. When I finally put boundaries in place and talked to my family things improved. I explained I had goals and ambitions, that I wanted to be successful, and that meant I couldn’t always participate in every family event — which was really hard for me because I’m a very family-oriented person. 

What do you like or find most interesting about your major? 
I think what’s interesting about biology is you get to see a lot of theories such as the Darwinian theory and, when you understand where [the theories] come from and how the ideas come to be, you can base your own studies off of them.  

Where do you find your community on campus? 
Within the STEM Club. I feel like we are all taking very hard classes together and struggling a little bit, but we all understand that the courses we’re taking are very hard and to fail a class or to get a low grade is pretty normal. As the community we all respect and understand what others are going through and have similar interests.  

What advice do you have for prospective students? 
Time management. I know people say it’s not important but really working off the schedule and understanding where you’re going to be and what you’re going to do at this time is important. Making studying a priority is really important, especially if you join STEM, because in high school we’re not taught how to study — you really have to learn what works for you. 

What’s your favorite spot on campus? 
Glenn Anthon Hall is the building I’m most likely in all the time — from my classes, or the STEM room, to just hanging out on the couches — that’s where you’ll find me. 

How has Yakima Valley College changed you? 
I feel like I really found a sense of community with STEM Club. The term ‘nerd’ is one I’ve never really accepted. I always assumed I was smart but I didn’t want to be labeled as a ‘nerd.’ Yet when you find people who are actually interested in this stuff that you’re into it makes you more inclined to accept the label. You have people who understand what you’re doing and what you want to succeed in. It’s not labeled as weird anymore, it’s more like goals and ambition and I feel like that has really helped change my mindset. 

How do you manage stress? 
I’m in a committed relationship and my boyfriend is a good rock for me. I could be a total mess and he’s just there and I appreciate it so much because he’s just like, “You got this.” 

Do you have a job? How do you work that into your schedule? 
I do work at Pho King Crab restaurant. I have come up to schedule with my boss where I work two 9-hr shifts on the weekends and have time during the week for classes and studying. It’s hard because sometimes during the midterms when I really need to study it does get in the way, but my boss is very lenient and has a son in college, so she understands when I need to spend more time studying.  

What do you view as your biggest achievement at YVC? 
I think my biggest achievement has been this summer working on an undergraduate research project. It showed me that I’m actually doing big things and I’m making progress in my education. I had so much fun this summer and the presentation and everything for me was such a big step and overall great experience. 

What is your ultimate goal? Where would you like to end up? 
Ultimately, I want to become a doctor. I want to work with people and help women who have fertility issues and expand on that and see where it takes me.  

Have you had the opportunity to do research with a professor? If so, please describe the project and the experience. 
I worked with Dr. Karen Wright from the Washington State Department of Agriculture. This was my first research project and we worked on finding the native population of bees in Washington. It was a great learning experience for me and helped me realize that we didn’t have that much information in Washington on the various types of bees.  The research that we did showed us a lot of new information available for [different types of] bees. I think our team had a great balance. Anakin, my research partner, is actually very interested in biology and he loves going out into the field and I prefer conducting research in a lab setting. 

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