Spring 2018 Undergraduate Valedictory Speaker: Where Is She Now?

Celeste Cravalho at NIH

Celeste Cravalho (BS Biology ’18) is participating in a two-year National Institutes of Health (NIH) Postbaccalaureate Intramural Research Training Award (IRTA) program in Bethesda, Maryland. Her lab’s research program compares the combination of metformin and liraglutide versus metformin alone to reduce excess glucose made by the liver in African-American youth with Type 2 Diabetes. In addition, the lab evaluates the mechanism of action in the liver of these two medications and the influence of genetics and gut bacteria.

Cravalho serves as a Study Coordinator, acting as a patient-physician liaison and organizing data collection. She works closely with her mentor to interpret and to analyze the results collected from their studies. Upon completion of the NIH IRTA program, her goal is to attend medical school.

Cravalho credits the HPU experiences she had with helping to prepare her for life after graduation. As a senior at HPU, she had a full-time course load, held leadership roles with several HPU organizations and volunteered at Kaiser Permanente Moanalua on Saturdays.

“Keeping myself busy taught me time management skills that are important for my NIH IRTA position,” she said.

Serving as the College of Natural & Computational Sciences Senator in the Student Government Association, greatly influenced Cravalho’s learning experience. She learned to get out of her comfort zone, by speaking to her constituents about campus issues and voicing their opinions at the weekly Senate meetings.

“Disagreeing with my other Senators was often difficult, but I learned how to put my feelings aside to represent others,” Cravalho said. “When I become a physician, I will also represent [my patients] and their interests as best as I can.”  

Cravalho acknowledges her HPU professors, advisors and friends for making a huge impact on her life.

“I am so lucky to be an HPU Shark,” she said.