Rebecca (Becky) Hernandez serves as the Assistant Director of the STEAM Program for the Institute of the Americas, a not for profit organization located on the campus of the University of California, San Diego.
Becky graduated Magna Cum Laude from the University of Texas – Rio Grande Valley (formerly the University of Texas – Pan American), Edinburg, Texas, with a B.S. in Biology and a minor in Chemistry. In addition, she spent her last two years as an undergraduate working on a research project involving a brain parasite that manipulates its fish host behavior. Ultimately, this undergraduate research project culminated in her first publication, in the Journal of Parasitology.
After graduating, she worked as a high school Pre-AP chemistry teacher at IDEA College Preparatory in Mission, Texas. Given her interest in STEM, she served as a mentor for students participating in the science fair competition and participated in both the annual STEM event hosted by her campus as well as the one hosted by her undergraduate institution.
Later, her passion for marine biology (and parasites) led her to Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UCSD, where she first worked as a Laboratory Technician and subsequently received her M.S. in Marine Biology. There, she focused on examining how California Killifish used their behavior as a defense against parasites.