Abby Morales

November Alumni Spotlight

LEAP Academy Class of 2016

  •  Rutgers University, Class of 2021, BS/MS Chemistry
  •  Prospective Candidate, Rutgers Ph.D in Computational and Integrative Biology

“I want to serve as a role model for future generations of LEAP alumni, and I want to encourage young Latinas from our community to stick with STEM!”

While college students across America spent their summer months seeking some semblance of normalcy, Abby Morales spent her summer months conducting research at an Ohio Air Force base as a Laboratory Intern, furnishing bolstering her already impressive resume. Though she could have easily used that time to take a break from her studies, Abby decided to keep up her momentum as she moves closer to her Spring 2021 graduation. After years of conducting lab experiments as an undergraduate Chemistry major, Abby has become intimately familiar with PPE, making her uniquely equipped to deal with continuing her studies during quarantine. In addition to gaining more experience outside of the classroom, Abby used the past few months to continue co-authoring a research paper based on a morphology study she is leading. Her research involves analyzing silk cellulose biofilms infused with reduced graphene oxide based on polymer composition and conductive properties. Though it may seem like she has a lot on her plate, Abby often reflects back on her time at LEAP Academy as a source of motivation, remarking, “my LEAP teachers inspired me to pursue excellence in all my endeavors, and to never pass up the opportunity to learn and grow!” These words of encouragement have served Abby well, as she has represented her LEAP pride as a presenter at various conferences including the ACS National Expo in Orlando, Florida and an upcoming presentation at the APS Mid-Atlantic Meeting in December. As she moves closer to achieving her academic goals, Abby is inspired by Latina scientists who have broken barriers in STEM, exclaiming, “people like Ellen Ochoa, the first Latina to travel to space, and Sabrina Gonzalez, the young Cubana and ‘world’s next Einstein’ have paved the way for Latinas all over the world to leave our mark in STEM!” Abby is currently in the process of applying to the Rutgers Ph.D in Computational and Integrative Biology program, and she hopes that her success will encourage future generations of Latina leaders to “stick with STEM!”