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Recent Microbiology Master’s degree recipient, Elizanette ‘Nette’ Lopez, has been awarded a fellowship from the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) to learn at the CDC biorepository in Lawrenceville, Georgia. Nette successfully defended her thesis, “Effects of elevated temperature on Mycobacterium chelonae growth and mycobacteriosis in zebrafish (Danio rerio)” in early July, 2020. Nette came to Oregon State University from Texas. Her interest in science began at a young age with a fascination in the practice of curanderismo, a folk healing tradition deeply ingrained in her culture. She wanted to understand how the rituals of curanderismo worked and, as she put it, “why the women in my life were always smearing oils and eggs on me”. After conducting an ethnobotanical study of curanderismo across West Texas as an undergraduate, she saw how research could improve the lives of underrepresented groups. She was particularly interested in infectious diseases which led her to OSU where she worked with advisors Michael Kent and Justin Sanders studying infectious diseases of zebrafish. Her graduate studies were partly funded by a diversity grant supplement through the NIH to promote diversity in the sciences. During her time at OSU, she continued to advocate for people of color. Nette was an active member of the Microbiology Graduate Student Association, Ethnic Minorities United in STEM and a founding member of the Women of Color Caucus at OSU. Toward the end of her graduate studies, the COVID-19 pandemic caused widespread disruptions globally. However, this also provided an opportunity for Nette to develop her interest in public health microbiology as a volunteer for the TRACE-COVID-19 project, checking in several thousand swab samples collected from participants in the field. She will be heading to Atlanta to help process SARS-CoV-2 samples and work to organize other collections in the biorepository.