Eugene Gonzalez-Lopez is a study in determination. He will graduate from John Jay with a master’s in Forensic Science this May and then head to Pennsylvania State University to enter the Neuroscience Graduate Program with a full five-year STEM Scholars fellowship.
Gonzalez-Lopez, who received a B.S. in Forensic Science from John Jay in 2012, has won numerous grants and internships. A scholarship he received through the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation: Bridge to the Doctorate program provided $60,000 to help pay for his graduate tuition.
Born and raised in Brooklyn, he attended alternative high schools, and never received a science education. At the age of 15, Gonzalez-Lopez left his parents’ house. “I was living by myself or with friends, so I had to wait until I was 23 and legally independent. Then I decided to go to John Jay because it was affordable and I was attracted to their solid science curriculum.” Gonzalez-Lopez began at John Jay as a SEEK student, which helped him pay for his books, assigned him to a mentor, and provided tutoring and consistent logistical support.
Gonzalez-Lopez began working with Professor Shu-Yuan Cheng, who introduced him to different areas of science and encouraged him to study neuroscience when he became passionate about how pesticides affect brain cells.
“I’ve always known what I wanted to do,” he said. “No one in my family went to college, but I had dreams of being a scientist. John Jay is the Harvard of forensic science, offering hands-on experience with faculty members who are amazing and bring a wealth of experience.”