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Lourdes Alemán’s Personal Story


“My father’s perseverance in getting my family out of Cuba continues to motivate me as a scientist.”


Lourdes, a Cuban-American, shares her greatest source of inspiration throughout her journey to becoming a scientist, a story of her father’s remarkable perseverance in the face of overwhelming adversity.

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  • In your current work, where do you find inspiration/real-word application to your research? What about science continues to inspire you?

    I find a great deal of inspiration in nature, particularly when I take time to notice my surroundings. I love hearing and reading about interesting problems not just within biology but also in chemistry, physics, and math. I often come across new ideas while listening to a program on National Public Radio, or watching science documentaries.  What still interests me about science, and continues to inspire me, is how beautifully creative and complex Nature is, and how much we still do not understand about the world around us.

  • What is your favorite non-science book, blog, or magazine?

    This is a tough one because I love reading and there are way too many good books out there. One of my favorite books is “Blindness” by Jose Saramago. Other favorites are “Eat, Pray, Love”, “The Great Gatsby”, “Pride and Prejudice” and “John Adams”. I follow a lot of design and craft blogs to fuel my creative side. “Apartment Therapy”, “Design Sponge”, “Young House Love”, “A Cup of Jo” and “The Purl Bee” are some of my favorites.

  • Did you know how to play a sport or musical instrument? Which one?

    Yes, I have been playing the piano since I was five years old and for a while I thought I was going to be a concert pianist. I studied piano in the national art school system while growing up in Cuba and continued on and off through college. I also swam and did rhythmic gymnastics.

  • What’s the #1 most played song on your iPod?

    A wide range:  Enya, John Mayer, Ella Fitzgerald, cheesy 80’s music, Juan Luis Guerra, Mozart Symphonies and Piano Concertos.

  • If you could learn to do anything, what would it be?

    I’m constantly trying to learn new creative and/or practical skills. I would love to pursue furniture making, ballet, sewing, and car repair (so that I would know what to do when my car breaks down!).

  • Do you have a favorite quotation about science?

    “The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It’s the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science.” –Albert Einstein