UGA Amazing Student: Maite Bucher

Ph.D. candidate Maite Bucher is passionate about stimulating collaboration between universities and governments, and supporting women and minorities in scientific fields.


High school: 
Academy of Information Technology at Apex High School, Apex, North Carolina

Expected graduation: 
Spring 2020

Degree objective: 
Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Environmental Health Sciences, College of Public Health

Other degrees: 
Environmental Science B.S. and Biology & Marine Science Minors from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

University highlights, achievements, awards and scholarships: 
At this time, I have two published papers. Additionally, I have attended three national and two international scientific conferences to present my work. I have several research manuscripts that are almost complete, and I expect to submit them to peer-review journals this fall. My university highlights and awards include:

— NSF Graduate Research Fellowship (2017-20)
— iBiology Young Scientist Seminar Finalist (2019)
— UGA Presidential Fellowship (2015-17)
— UGA Graduate Education Advancement Board Fellowship (2019)
— UGA Innovative and Interdisciplinary Research Grant (2017)
— UGA Graduate School Travel Award (2017)
— EHS Research Showcase 1st Place Poster (2019)
— ISME2017, Germany, Qiagen 1st Place Poster (2018)
— EHS Research Showcase 1st Place Poster (2018)

I also initiated the Scientific Research and Education Network (SciREN) in Georgia. SciREN promotes interaction between university scientists and local schools via lesson planning workshops and networking events. Teachers who participate in SciREN events will expose underrepresented students (especially women and minorities) to ocean media, jobs in STEM fields, and the option of higher education. SciREN also trains graduate students to be ambassadors bringing current research issues into classrooms.

I chose to attend UGA because … 
My decision to attend UGA was based on my admiration for professor Erin Lipp and her research aspirations, along with the financial support that UGA offered for my graduate education.

My favorite things to do on campus are … 
I enjoy taking walks around the Environmental Health Sciences building and eating ice cream from the Creamery.

When I have free time, I like … 
During my free time, I enjoy watching Netflix, playing with my mini poodle, Otis, and walking around town with my husband, Justin Bucher.

The craziest thing I’ve done is …
… plan a wedding in six months during my second year of graduate school.

My favorite place to study is … 
… my office in the Environmental Health Science building.

My favorite professor is … 
Erin Lipp, for her encouragement, understanding, and mentorship.

If I could share an afternoon with anyone, I would love to share it with …
… my husband, Justin.

If I knew I could not fail, I would …
… inspire all young minds (particularly women and minorities) to change the world in a positive way with their character and work ethic.

If money was not a consideration, I would love to …
… pay for a 10-day vacation at the beach in North Carolina for my parents, my six siblings, and my in-laws.

What is your passion and how are you committed to pursuing it? 
Advancing the academic mission to support the underwater world requires leaders dedicated to both research and the communication of innovative solutions to contemporary environmental issues. I am passionate about becoming one of these leader-scholars. I would like to integrate my research skills to conduct research that assesses the health of our coral reef ecosystems and communicate this knowledge to the general public.

I am committed to pursuing this passion by becoming a scientist and professor with the goal of (1) stimulating collaboration between universities and governments, (2) supporting women and minority scientists in scientific fields, and (3) invoking public interest and action.

After graduation, I plan to …
I hope to work as a postdoctoral researcher at the Genetics and Microbiology Lab at the North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences in Raleigh.

The one UGA experience I will always remember will be … 
… walking around campus and downtown during a big home football game. Go Dawgs!

Learn more about the Amazing Students at UGA here.

Posted on June 3, 2019.