Karla Perez '20

Karla Perez is a junior majoring in Health Administration going down the Pre-Med track. She is currently designing an independent scientific study of genetics that impact Alzheimer's disease and the implications of previous studies, or lack thereof, on women's health. 

Her Campus Siena: Tell us a little about yourself and your interdisciplinary independent research.

Karla Perez: I'm just a passionate Afro-Latina from the Bronx trying to make a difference in the lives of my communities and women. My research project is aimed at investigating the connection between the lack of racial, ethnic and gender diversity in genetic research and Alzheimer’s.


HC: What inspired you to pursue this research idea?

KP: A TEDTalk that I watched two-years ago that spoke about how the lack of diversity in genetic research has contributed to the development of huge health problems in minority communities, such as the development of drug addiction to specific drugs, influenced me to pursue this research idea.


HC: How do you think Siena fits your research objectives and your academic goals?

KP: Siena’s small-sized campus is key. Its friendly environment, and Franciscan core value mission statements, as well as educational and scientific resources are perfectly suited for my individual and most passionate interests such as community service, one-on-one learning opportunities and research tools.


HC: What faculty members are you working with on this research?

KP: I am indirectly working with several members of the Sociology Department and my primary advisor is Dr. Thomas Giarla from the Biology Department.

HC: What other things are you involved in on-campus or otherwise?

KP: I am currently the treasurer of Class of 2020 in the Student Senate, a Women’s Center leader, a Laboratory Assistant for Dr. Mason and a Peer Advisor in the office of Student Academic Success and Engagement.


HC: How do you balance work and play?

KP: I plan every last detail of day! I have built in a 5-hour sleep schedule. I use a lot of phone reminders and Google calendar reminders. However, I make time for self-care and especially hair-care… you know curly hair things. Also, my Muslim sisters keep me grounded and sane.