There are many STEM professionals working on trying to cure cancer, Alzheimer’s Disease and other chronic illnesses every day, and Becca Cuellar assists in that effort. Becca is a Medicinal Chemist, Research Assistant and Professor at the University of Minnesota who works on creating medicine that can improve lives. Part of her research entails seeing how small molecules can stick together (kind of like a puzzle) and do “magic” on the proteins in our bodies. All of this magic can be packed into something as small as a pill.

Becca considers herself lucky since her mother was also in the field of chemistry, so she was able to see a role model in the lab while growing up. Before she became a chemist, Becca was an adventurous and energetic child who grew up around her grandparents’ farm. She honors her Mexican heritage in her home by cooking traditional dishes her grandmother used to make. She decompresses from work by exploring her creative side; she paints, sews and does other handicrafts while not at work. Becca believes science is all around us, and everyone can take part in it.  And even though science is difficult sometimes, her advice to girls is to not let anyone tell you that you can’t do something.

Want to keep the inspiration flowing? Check out additional profiles of Minnesota women in STEM careers.

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SciGirls is TPT’s National Science Foundation-funded program that engages girls (and boys!), families and educators nationwide around science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM. By combining an Emmy Award-winning PBS series, multiple websites, hands-on activities and professional development workshops, SciGirls reaches millions on-the-air, online and in communities, inspiring the next generation of STEM superstars.