Emma Podol


Scottsdale, Arizona

Academic Interests

Cell and Molecular Biology & Global Health

Fun Fact

Rainy days are one of my favorite things in the world (speaking as someone who grew up in the desert)

My interest in the microscopic world of genes and proteins was initially sparked by a lesson in my 8th grade biology class on the affects signaling pathways have on cellular functions. Through my experience with bioinformatics projects, I dived into neurodegenerative diseases, and I soon found that the investigative process of research was an ideal environment to push my curiosity and explore the variety of topics that intrigued me such as the connections between gene expression and diseases. Joining the Ric Scalzo Institute for Botanical Research for my senior project was an extraordinary opportunity to dive deep into advanced, niche topics in botanical medicine and drug development while also drawing connections between fundamental biology and chemistry principles and their real-world applications in research. With every experiment I was exposed to, I gained a greater appreciation for the process of experimental design and the extensive troubleshooting required. This experience solidified my desire to pursue a career in biological research, and I hope to continue to develop new passions in STEM and gain new skills through the future projects I work on.

Discussing in Model United Nations the spread of Ebola by Congolese refugees to neighboring nations and India’s high mortality rates due to a lack of rural medical infrastructure taught me that human health is more than just the body’s condition. In the face of epidemics that don’t respect borders, I am aware of the importance of health equity in managing diseases and saving lives. I want to understand the political, societal, and epidemiological factors that influence diseases through studying global health.

On campus I’m involved in cultural groups such as PorColombia and MiGente, the DCC, and Global Health Public Brigades. In my free time I enjoy listening to music (anything from 80s and indie to kpop and salsa) as well as cooking, and recently, I’ve picked up rock climbing and zumba as ways of destressing and taking a break.

What do you like about being a SPIRE Fellow?

I’ve loved meeting and building relationships with other people. Whether they are peers, upperclassmen, or professors, everyone is so willing and eager to reach out and offer their support and advice, and it has been wonderful joining a community with so many interests and passions!

Emma Podol
Emma Podol