Enrique Garcia paid a visit to Karina Reyes’ fourth-grade class at Knollwood Elementary School to lead students in an experiment to extract the DNA from strawberries. Garcia is a scientist raised in Salisbury and a first-generation college student. He attended Mt. Ulla and Knollwood elementary schools, Southeast Middle School and West Rowan High School, graduating in 2013.
Garcia graduated from Catawba College in 2017 with a Bachelor of Science (BS) in Biology. After graduation, he worked in the industry for one year before applying to North Carolina State University’s (NCSU)Interdisciplinary Biochemistry Master’s Program (IBMP). This program is geared toward helping minority students by giving them the tools and opportunities to attend graduate school.
Reyes invited Garcia to come to her class because she saw it as a great opportunity not only for her students learn a little science, but to meet someone who is from our community. She also saw it as a way to inspire her Hispanic students and show them they can do great things.
Garcia currently works at the Cardinal Health PET Manufacturing Facility in Charlotte as a NuclearManufacturing Tech 1. He does quality control (QC) on the radiopharmaceuticals produced at the PET facility. One of his goals is to spread joy and excitement to local youth by showing them how cool and important science can be, as well as explaining the impact that science has in our everyday lives.
Garcia talked to Reyes’ students about DNA and then walked through the process of extracting the DNA from strawberries. The students were very excited to participate. Students worked in groups and went through the process together, learning the importance of following lab procedures to obtain the best results. All students were successful in extracting the strawberries’ DNA and their excitement about science and what they can do with their future was amazing!