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Alumnus Success: Paulo Garcia '06

May 30, 2013

Paulo Garcia '06

Combating Cancer

Paulo Garcia '06 came to Randolph-Macon College planning on a career in engineering, grew interested enough in medicine to fulfill all the pre-med requirements, and graduated with a physics major and a math minor. Put all those interests together, and in Garcia’s case what they led to was a Ph.D. in biomedical engineering from the Virginia Tech – Wake Forest University School of Biomedical Engineering and Sciences.

As a student at R-MC, Garcia, a native of Cali, Colombia, had participated in the Schapiro Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program with Physics Professor Deonna Woolard. “Participating in the SURF program with Dr. Woolard sparked my interest in research and investigation,” he says.

At Virginia Tech, he began working in the Bioelectromechanical Systems Lab of Dr. Rafael Davalos, joining a research team that includes engineers, oncologists and neurosurgeons, all focused on developing a novel bioelectromechanical treatment for cancer. Garcia was awarded the prestigious Paul E. Torgerson College of Engineering Student Research Excellence Award for Best Ph.D. Presentation based on his work with the team, and he was North American Finalist in the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Student Paper Competition.

Now a post-doctoral associate in the lab, Garcia continues to be part of the team led by Davalos.

“We are developing a new treatment called "Irreversible Electroporation” (IRE) to kill brain tumors. An IRE treatment involves delivering a series of low energy electric pulses through minimally invasive electrodes inserted into the tumor,” Garcia explains. The team has successfully used IRE for treatment of a canine tumor; now, says Garcia, “the Lab is continuing to develop and refine IRE so that we can take it to clinical trials and treat humans with brain cancer.”

About his R-MC education, Garcia notes, “R-MC prepared me extremely well for my graduate studies. I was very lucky to be part of a small department in which all the professors not only were extremely knowledgeable about the subject area but also were widely available for guidance and help.”

Paving the Way for Success

Rather than prepare students for one career, Randolph-Macon College prepares students for a lifetime of careers in an ever-changing world. Exceptional faculty work with students to cultivate their ability to think critically and analytically and to find creative solutions for solving problems. R-MC graduates are well-prepared for successful careers, often far outside of their areas of study.

The Randolph-Macon Edge, the cornerstone of the Career Center, helps Randolph-Macon students lead the pack when competing for jobs and top graduate schools. Students have the support of faculty, career coaches, alumni and staff as they focus on their personal and academic ambitions.

Students may choose to pursue paid or volunteer internships in a wide variety of settings. The Bassett Internship Program has been successfully placing students in academic internships both in the U.S. and around the globe for 30 years. Coordinated with the Center for Personal and Career Development, the program helps students identify their interests and matches them with an appropriate internship opportunity. Randolph-Macon’s alumni provide a strong network of support for students throughout their time at the college or in assisting them after graduation with career direction and opportunities.

The college’s Four-Year Degree Guarantee guarantees in writing that freshmen who meet the Four-Year Degree Guarantee requirements will graduate within four calendar years. If not, Randolph-Macon will waive tuition costs for courses needed to complete the degree. Currently, 95 percent of R-MC graduates complete their degree in four years or less—an important value-added benefit for parents to consider when visiting colleges with their students.

Study Abroad programs offer students a beyond-the-classroom global perspective and opportunities to immerse themselves in other cultures. Students can choose from a host of travel courses during January Term and semester-abroad programs.

The Schapiro Undergraduate Research Fellowship (SURF) program gives students the opportunity to conduct 10 weeks of original research under the guidance of faculty mentors. Many students present their findings at national and international conferences.