Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi

Michael Cavazos

An Outstanding Islander

Outline photo of Michael Cavazos

Freshwater Adventure

Michael Cavazos spent the summer of 2009 on an adventure of a lifetime – collecting freshwater gobies in the Republic of Palau, Micronesia, as an undergraduate research assistant for Dr. Frank Pezold. Comparing the fish from around the Indo-Pacific and performing genetic analysis on them was so rewarding for Cavazos that this summer, he’ll return to the island to conduct further research at the Palau International Coral Reefs Center and volunteer to discuss his experiences at Palau Community College. Cavazos, who also works on coral research projects with Dr. Kevin Strychar, earned his bachelor’s degree in biology in 2009, and began his Master of Science in Marine Biology that fall. Cavazos says a “Reader’s Digest” North American wildlife book of marine fish and gobies given to him by his grandfather when he was a young boy helped shape his interest. Cavazos, who is originally from San Antonio, Texas, transferred to the Island University because of the many opportunities to conduct hands-on research. But his main reason for returning to school was to show his three children the benefits of an education. Since Cavazos arrived at the University, he has embraced the challenges of a cutting-edge field and received the spotlight on several occasions. He placed first for his presentation on soft corals at the 2009 Sigma Xi Undergraduate Research Symposium; he presented at the SACNAS National Conference in Dallas, Texas, that same year; he completed an independent research on coral microbial populations for the BUENO program, and he volunteers at a local elementary school speaking to children on basic science.

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