UT Pharmacy Supports Grad Students with Building Our Own Talent (BOOT) Program

By Nick Nobel
September 8, 2022

In 2021, the College of Pharmacy launched the Building Our Own Talent (BOOT) program designed to provide mentoring and support for trainees associated with the college. The program and the college embrace the notion that innovation and discovery thrive in an inclusive culture that values diverse ideas. The main goal of the BOOT program is to increase the recruitment, retention and preparation of trainees from diverse backgrounds—including race, ethnicity, national origin, gender and gender identity, sexuality, socioeconomic class and religion—for an academic career in the pharmaceutical sciences.

This year, the college welcomes Daniel San Miguel and Adriana Vargus to the pharmaceutical sciences graduate program. These two fully funded graduate research assistant (GRA) positions were established to annually support recruitment of students into graduate programs in either pharmaceutical sciences or translational sciences. These GRA positions provide a generous 12-month stipend plus paid tuition for the first academic year.

Daniel San Miguel

Daniel Anthony San Miguel Jr. graduated with honors from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi, obtaining a dual degree: a Bachelor of Science in chemistry with a concentration in biochemistry and a minor in biology, and Bachelor of Arts in psychology with a minor in philosophy. 

He was a part of the Ronald McNair Scholars Program, earning a scholarship for conducting a research project where he wrote a program to look at sex differences in visual working memory, which he presented at the Vision Sciences Society Conference 2022. He has also been a member of research teams using computational chemistry methods to investigate the epigenetic effects of the environmental toxin Benzo[a]pyrene, and using qualitative survey methods to study perceptions of transgender and promiscuous individuals. Among his activities, he was the president of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science at his university. 

Daniel joins the Division of Pharmacology and Toxicology through the pharmaceutical sciences Ph.D. program this fall where he will continue his studies in neuropharmacology and addiction research.

Adriana Vargus

Adriana Vargus completed her Bachelor of Science in chemistry at Baylor University and Doctor of Pharmacy degree at The University of Texas at Austin. Throughout pharmacy school, Adriana excelled academically, conducted both clinical and basic laboratory-based studies and actively contributed to the UT Pharmacy community. Adriana served as her class representative of 2022 and as an advanced academic assistant in several courses and labs. She was the recipient of several awards and honors including the B. Berard Matthews Endowed scholarship and earned second place in the Texas Society of Health System Pharmacists’ (TSHP) annual clinical skills competition. During this time, Adriana also conducted an array of research including pharmaceutical, epidemiological and community-based studies. She served as the project lead on “Access to harm reduction resources during COVID Project” that led to a first-author presentation at the Texas Substance Use Symposium (TxSUS).

Adriana joins the Division of Pharmacotherapy through the pharmaceutical sciences graduate program under the direction of Professor Jim Koeller and Dr. Grace Lee where she will continue her interest and training in clinical-translational research.