Community Spotlight

Josie Mae Delisle

Josie Mae Delisle recently completed a degree in Molecular Biosciences and Biotechnology at Arizona State University. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a GPA of 4.03.

What is the biggest misconception about you? Actually, there are two big misconceptions about me. First, people think I’m suplada (snobbish). A lot of my friends told me that before they knew me, they thought I was snobbish and unfriendly. One of my good friends now, used to dislike me back in high school because she thought I was a real snob even though she didn’t know me yet. I guess a lot of people think I’m a snob because I don’t smile often to strangers but once you get to know me, you will see a different side of me. Another huge misconception is that I’m a quite and shy person. It’s true that I’m shy at the beginning especially when I’m in a new environment where I don’t know anyone yet but I tend to be boisterous around my friends and families.

What would teachers say is your greatest strength as both an individual and as a student? My professors have said that my greatest strength as a student is being disciplined in my studies. I am very focused, I set my priorities straight and I work hard to attain my goals. As an individual, they have said that I am a good team player and I’m very willing to reach out to my classmates or the people I work with.

What personal traits would you like to see yourself build in the next four years? I want to build more on my self-confidence and independence. There are still times that I doubt my own capabilities and talents especially when it comes to new challenges. I still need others to push me in discovering what I’m really good at. I also want to develop my sense of independence. Spending the first 19 years of my life in the Philippines makes it difficult for me to be fully independent because of my cultural background, however, I hope to overcome this fear of learning life on my own.

What are your other interests besides science? Art! Art because it offers no boundaries. Although it can be technical at times, (mastering your color wheel and smoothing out your lines) beyond that it’s all about self-expression. It complements my scientific background. In science, there are protocols to follow for each experiment and results must be quantitative and reasonably explained. On the other hand, art is not rigid and is mainly based on qualitative output because it is all about visuals. Sometimes, after performing experiments in the lab and having review sessions for Organic Chemistry, it is nice to just relax at the end of the day and do some sketches and let my mind be at ease. Eventually, I get motivated again to study science and vice versa, hence, a balance is maintained and I don’t go nuts while studying. I mainly like the works by the old masters like Michelangelo and Caravaggio and also modern artists like Dali and O’Keeffe.

Name one personal accomplishment that makes you especially proud. Graduating Summa Cum Laude at ASU is something that I’m very proud of because I’ve worked hard for it. Not only was college a challenge in itself but there was also the cultural challenge since I came to ASU straight from the Philippines. My freshman year, I felt so intimidated by this huge university and of course, you have to speak English 100% of the time; the food was different, the students were different; the monetary currency was different; I had no friends and knew no one; the way classes were taught was different as well.

…being able to succeed academically in a completely different learning environment was definitely a personal accomplishment that I’m very proud of.

What is next for you? Where do you see yourself in 5 years? 10 years? Currently, I am working as a Research Assistant at a laboratory in ASU and I hope to work as a postbaccalaureate researcher at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) beginning in August. Hopefully, I’ll be in medical school five years from now (either doing an MD/PhD or at least an MD). Ten years from now, I’d probably be finishing up my residency in internal medicine.

What motivates you? I derive my motivation from my parents, my extended family, back home in the Philippines and God. My parents have worked hard and supported me throughout my life, especially in my studies, and excelling academically was a way for me to show my appreciation for everything they’ve done. My extended family in Davao is mainly composed of cousins, nephews, and nieces that are younger than me and I wanted to serve as a role model for them, reminding them that education and honest, hard work will open many doors for them. Lastly, God has always been an inspiration for me and all of his blessings in my life have driven me to give my best in everything that I do. I wouldn’t be where I am now if it wasn’t for Him.

What would be your dream job in life? My dream job would have to be working as a medical epidemiologist (either at a national or international level) because this job combines all of my interests in public health, medicine, research, and travel. I hope to someday work as a medical epidemiologist in the Philippines battling infectious diseases under international organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO).

What advice do you have to offer to future students? Seize the Day! Let every day be yours and give your best in everything that you do. Make use of all the resources in school (office hours, learning resource centers, libraries, etc.), definitely talk to your professors, study in groups, teach others because you’ll learn best when you teach, ask questions and don’t leave them unanswered, join clubs/organizations, surround yourself with good friends, always make each day productive and yes, you have to study as well.

From your point of view, what does it mean to be bicultural? Being bicultural is definitely becoming more common these days because of intercultural marriages and migration that are brought about by increasing globalization. I for one is half-American and half-Filipino, moreover, I spent the first 19 years of my life in the Philippines and my young adult life here in the US. Because of this, I have had the benefit of choosing which values and traditions I want to incorporate in my life. I pick out the best and good in both cultures and my identity is a balanced mixture of both. I am never ashamed of any one of them because all cultures have their pros and cons. Also, I know some Filipinos who dwell too much on the American side (or vice versa) and forget their other culture and end up looking ridiculous and lost in the long run. It’s true that I can never be 100% Filipino nor 100% American but I can be bicultural just like the numerous people around the world who have mixed ancestries or those who were brought up in different places.

Michael Lewis

Michael is joined at the hip with the Filipino American community through family, friends, and his love for the food. Over the past 15 years+, he has been an active "behind the scenes" contributor to a variety of Filipino community groups, events, and activities. Michael is also ringleader of the FilAm FamBam crew and in his free time enjoys RV'ing and anything tech.

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