Maria Moutsoglou in a research lab

Maria Moutsoglou

Undergraduate Majors: Chemistry, Microbiology, & Biology
Graduate Program: PhD in Biochemistry
Hometown: Brookings, SD
Expected Graduation Year: 2015

Why did you choose to attend SDSU?

My dad is a professor in the engineering department, so I would always come and hang around on campus as a kid. He always had good things to say about the administration and staff, so I knew that I would be getting a good education. I had no qualms about spending more time in Brookings. SDSU is part of my childhood, and with the strong science programs offered, I knew it could be part of my adult life as well.

Who has inspired you the most at SDSU and in what way?

My graduate advisor, Dr. John Robinson, definitely. He brought a completely different dynamic to SDSU. I always thought of it as a small town university where, without a doubt, important work was being done. But Dr. Robinson has brought work that reaches a national and international importance that totally changed my viewpoint on SDSU. We are working toward the lofty goal of a cure for heart failure by getting down to the very basics of heart muscle cells. I have gone so far beyond what I could ever have imagined as an incoming freshman thanks to Dr. Robinson.

What has been your most interesting class, and what about it did you enjoy?

My most interesting class was physical chemistry with Dr. Hirko. I enjoyed it because it explained the derivation of all the chemistry concepts I had been learning about for years. I would spend my evenings at Jacks’ Place drinking coffee, doing p-chem problems, and listening to Lady Gaga with my fellow p-chemists. Going from the relatively easy math from previous chemistry classes to the calculus-based math of p-chem was pretty intense, but I made it a personal goal to get an A. The horror stories from previous students only fueled my fire.

What is your favorite or most memorable SDSU experience?

Once again, this involves p-chem. My friend and I were working on homework at Jack's Place, and they forgot to kick us out for closing time. Naturally, we decided to spend the night doing homework and watching TV at Jack's Place, staying awake thanks to Diet Coke and the sheer excitement of calculus.

Where do you see yourself in the future/10 years?

I see myself having my doctorate in biochemistry and having published work in multiple major science journals. I hope the results I produce will bring acclaim to SDSU and my advisor, in addition to pushing the world closer to a cure for heart failure. I won't lie and say I want to keep doing science after my doctorate. There are so many places I want to go to and things I want to do. I find the idea of doing one thing my whole life rather domineering--I want instead to travel the world and maybe open up a grill in Australia. And after a few years at that, who knows?

What piece of advice would you give new students?

Don’t get stuck in the library for hours on end. It's important to get good grades, but it's more important to be a well-rounded person. I can't stress enough how vital it is to read books, learn about politics, take a philosophy course, spend time outside, and above all, strive to be open-minded. Trust me, it's far more valuable to understand the world around you then to understand how to take a multiple choice test. If you are passionate about something, you'll find a way to get there.