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Jose Guerra '21
BS Biochemistry 
Minors in Chemistry and Music


Where are you originally from?
 I am originally from New Jersey. 

Why Stony Brook?
I chose Stony Brook because of the various research opportunities and the ability to engage the community by volunteering.  

On his major and minors: 
My major is Biochemistry with minors in Music and Chemistry. I chose my major because I am interested in understanding how living organisms work; the courses I take to fulfill this major are of particular interest to me. In a similar manner, I chose Chemistry as a minor because it complements my major and allows me to dive deeper into understanding how processes work at an atomic level. I chose my music minor because I enjoyed playing the violin in orchestras in high school and wanted to continue playing in college. I also enjoy learning about the history of music and furthering my understanding of music theory. 

Favorite class: 
One of my favorite classes was BIO 361: Biochemistry I. I enjoyed this course because it provided me with a solid framework for understanding how the structures of proteins enable their functions. Additionally, I also served as a teaching assistant for this course.

Interests and accomplishments:
I am interested in studying how proteins function and also enjoy playing the violin in my free time. Some of my accomplishments while at Stony Brook include getting into several PhD programs, presenting at numerous conferences, and completing my departmental honors thesis.

Greatest achievement:
I consider the greatest achievement the completion of my honors thesis because it serves as a reminder of the work I put into my undergraduate research experience in the Simmerling Lab.

Awards and Accolades:

  • Undergraduate Research and Creative Arts (URECA) Summer Award
  • Spiegel Family Endowed Scholarship
  • American Chemistry Society Bridge Travel Award 
  • Stony Brook Alumni Association’s Dean’s Choice Award
  • Eugene Katz Undergraduate Research Award
  • Louise Guarneri Scholarship
  • 2nd place poster presentation winner at the 14th annual WPU Undergraduate Research Symposium 
  • Provost Award for Academic Excellence

Plans for post-graduation:
After graduation, I will be doing research at Columbia University through the Amgen Scholars Program for the summer. In the fall, I will be starting my PhD in Chemistry at the University of Chicago. 

Career aspirations:
My ultimate career aspiration is to continue doing research and answer fundamental questions in protein science. 

Clubs and organizations:
I was in the Stony Brook Undergraduate Biochemistry Society, and a member of the CAS Dean's Student Advisory Council.  

Advice for future Seawolves?
I would tell potential Seawolves to take advantage of all the opportunities present at Stony Brook. There are lots of people here who want to help you!

Favorite SBU memory?
My favorite memory of Stony Brook is volunteering with my club, the Biochemistry Society, at the Children’s Hospital. At the hospital, we were able to run science demonstrations and help make children interested in science.