As a first generation Mexican-American, I have endured an array of cultural, economic and academic barriers. Having originated from a strong agricultural heritage, the desire to learn and understand impairments to freshwater resources has been cultivated in my personal and professional goals. I have matured through overcoming some of the most impactful and difficult of life experiences and have strived for the highest of academic achievements. Throughout all of this, the inspiration that has been gleaned by my own hard work and circumstances has become a passion to impart the knowledge I have gained to other young men and women who share a similar passion to understand the ecology of freshwater ecosystems.