Edinburg, Texas, native Dr. Rudy Jimenez, a STEM coordinator in the Longhorn Center for Academic Excellence (LCAE), knows all too well how a life event can change one’s career trajectory. As an 18-year-old student-athlete on the Texas State University track team, Jimenez collapsed due to a heart condition. Since that time, the scientist and avid cyclist has lived with an implanted defibrillator. That event changed the course of his studies to biochemistry—he wanted to know what caused his heart condition.
While working on his doctorate at the University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA), Jimenez’s research focused on anthrax toxin receptors. He earned his doctorate in cellular molecular biology and went on to a post-doctoral fellowship in the Pharmacology and Toxicology Department at UTSA for six months. He was to begin a post-doc in the School of Pharmacy at the University of Texas at Austin under Dr. Edward Mills last summer when the national budget sequester struck. The sequester affected the position Jimenez was to assume (along with many others) as research budget cuts occurred.
And so, Dr. Mills’ loss was LCAE’s gain. Mills knew of Jimenez’s outreach work, active involvement and leadership positions through the SACNAS (Society for Advancing Hispanic/Chicanos and Native Americans in Science) and the Society of Mexican American Engineers and Scientists and thought the posting for the LCAE STEM coordinator position suited him perfectly.
Jimenez has thoroughly enjoyed working with Gateway, Longhorn Link and McNair students. He sees that many of them are in the same position he was in college. “Prepared but in shock,” he mused. He eases students into the college study mode for the STEM fields and guides them to academic achievement. “I know that every student is different and I relate to them in different ways. I want to convey my sincerity and honesty and let them know that I want them to succeed.”