Gabriel Subuyuj

Gabriel Subuyuj

Dean's Scholar

Major: Biological Sciences/Microbiology
College of Science

Why did you choose your major?

Learning has never come easy for me, especially when I had to learn English. But I have been really blessed to be surrounded by professors and peers that have been patient with me and invested time in my education. For the longest time I was undecided about what I wanted to pursue for a career. Near the end of my second year in community college I took an introductory microbiology course and I will never forget how excited I was the first time I saw a microorganism under the microscope. This really sparked my scientific curiosity and encouraged me to pursue a career in biology to learn more about microbes.   

What does receiving this particular award mean to you?

I am really humbled and honored to receive this award because it serves as a reminder that when you work hard and are passionate about your career, it will not go unrecognized. At the same time I am really grateful for all the people that have helped me get where I am today. This award is not only a recognition for me but for the support and effort of my family and professors as well.

Who has had the greatest influence or impact on your life? In addition, tell us about a SJSU faculty member who contributed to your academic success.

There have been a number of people who have contributed to my success in school. The first people I would like to mention are my parents who have always been there for me in my ups and downs. Although they did not had a chance to receive a higher education here in the United States and could not help me with my homework, they provided me with the necessary resources so that I could do well in school. They always encouraged me to pursue a higher education and reminded me of the importance to do my best in everything I do. Here at SJSU, my greatest influencer has been Dr. Skovran; I am really thankful with God for giving me the opportunity to have Dr. Skovran as my professor in Micro 101. Her passion and the excitement she brings into the classroom when she teaches has confirmed that I am in the right field of study. You can really tell that she cares about her students because she goes out of her way to make sure that you understand difficult concepts that are relevant and current in the field of microbiology. I am also grateful for the opportunity she has given me to work in her lab, where I have learned so many techniques that will be helpful when I go to graduate school. She has also challenged me to get out my comfort zone and do my best in the lab. She has truly been a great mentor in the lab and all her guidance and hard work has resulted in me publishing my first paper as a co-author in the Journal of Bacteriology, and I will always be grateful for that.

Describe an experience that has shaped who you are today.

I think that being a DREAMER has been an aspect of my life that has shaped who I am today. Although being an immigrant has presented an extra challenges to pay and come to school, it has been a huge part of me. At the same time, it has pushed me to work harder and never give up. It has help me understand that I should not take education for granted and motivated me to seek opportunities. At the same time, it has awaken in me a passion to help other students that are in the same situation that I once was. 

What would you say to other students to encourage or inspire them to attain academic excellence?

My advice for other students would be to get out of their comfort zone and challenge themselves beyond what they think they could do. I have learned that challenging myself has helped me grow as a person, student and researcher. Sure there have been bumps in the road, but I would had never achieved any accomplishments if I would had let fear of failure paralyzed me from trying something new. I guess that what I am trying to say is not to miss out on great opportunities just because it might be difficult.

What makes you a Spartan?

What makes me a Spartan is that I am a hard worker and I never give up. I have acquired many skills here at SJSU that will help me serve my community and help out the next generation of scientists.


Nominated by Elizabeth Skovran