Associate in Science – Track 1
Yoni Rodriguez was born and raised in Toppenish, Washington. After graduating in 2010 he attended Eastern Washington University. Struggling and unsure on a course of study that would provide the challenge he was looking for, Rodriguez decided to take a break from his education. After working for two years and with the encouragement of family, he decided to enroll at YVC in the fall of 2014.
“I have really enjoyed these courses at YVC,” stated Rodriguez. “The small class size and instructor availability has been great,” he continued.
Rodriguez has been very involved in campus life as a member of the Pre-Med club, Chemistry club, STEM club, and MESA program. As part of the MESA program he has been able to attend field trips to research facilities such as the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
In addition, for the past three summers Rodriguez was selected to participate in YVC’s undergraduate research projects. These projects are made possible by a science, technology, engineering, and math grant through the US Department of Education. YVC works in partnership with Heritage University to offer this opportunity to students. He worked with YVC Chemistry Instructor Dr. Tanya Knickerbocker to collect and analyze water samples.
“I have really liked the small hands-on research opportunities at YVC. I have been able to work one-on-one with instructors. It has really helped me stand apart from others when applying to universities. It is also nice that YVC has such great connections with research facilities outside even of the Yakima area,” he continued.
With his experiences during the summer research projects and field trips with the MESA program, Rodriguez decided to pursue a degree in biochemistry. He plans to transfer to Washington State University in the fall. This summer he will work WSU’s Dr. Shelley Pressley on a Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) project. This project will test air quality.
He hopes to one day work in a research facility or as a medical professional. “I would really love to find a position that allows me to work part-time in a research laboratory and part-time in a clinic. I really like educating people and I believe if I know more about the place I live then I can help others more,” he concluded. Ultimately, Rodriguez hopes to work in the Yakima Valley and help give back to the community.