Students say they're grateful to have Dr. Rosa Alcazar as a role model.
CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- A Clovis Community College professor is helping students break barriers while giving them access to data not often available to undergraduate students.
"When I came here that was what I wanted to establish, I wanted to provide an opportunity for undergraduate research," said Dr. Rosa Alcazar.
Since 2017, Alcazar has been paving the way for students to have access to Genomics Data Science, which helps decode information hidden in DNA sequences.
One of the goals is to provide a better understanding of human health and disease.
It's a world of research Alcazar says is not usually available for undergraduate students but that's changed at Clovis Community College.
" We have a little bit of data properly curated for students, and right now, we are trying to create a library of opportunities," Alcazar said.
Alcazar's career in research and connections at her alma mater, Johns Hopkins University inspired the idea.
She says her transition into teaching is personal.
"I thought coming to teach at the community college would give me an opportunity to help and provide things that were not provided at the time that I was a student," explained Alcazar.
As a first-generation Latina and someone who lived most of her childhood and teenage years in Mexico, Alcazar faced many barriers.
She says taking a class at a community college to improve her English gave her the confidence and determination to get an education beyond high school.
" It takes courage to try and do something different," said Alcazar.
Students say they're grateful to have Alcazar as a role model, including Gabriel Riberio who hopes to be a doctor one day.
"I am also a first-generation student, and having support for my research about tap water is huge," said Riberio.
Alcazar is also spreading the word about the research tool, known as C-MOOR Science, so other schools can implement it in their classes.