Originally from Mexico, Geanncarlo Lugo moved from Tijuana to the Barrio Logan neighborhood of San Diego when he was 14 years old. He credits finishing high school with his grandmother’s belief in him. Since his childhood in Barrio Logan, Geanncarlo has travelled the world, spending eleven years in France researching diseases like tuberculosis and now taking a three year sabbatical in the U.S.
Geanncarlo is a molecular and cellular immunologist with a bachelor’s degree in cell and molecular biology from San Diego State University and a PhD in immunology from Harvard. He has decided to teach science because he wants to ensure science is communicated to the public and inspire students to become scientists, look for their own information, and use critical thinking.
He did not naturally love biology at first and never thought he would become a biologist. The curriculum in high school did not interest or engage him. In his future classroom, he sees science as a great opportunity to speak with students about everyday applications in their lives and open a dialogue to show them their opinions matter.
Geanncarlo says that in his neighborhood there were a lot of bad influences and it was difficult to keep priorities straight. But when he barely finished high school and decided to pursue community college, his grandma loaned him $400 to buy books and made him promise he would get straight A’s. He says, “In community college I was completely like a sponge.” After writing a 30 page report for his 10 page assignment in an Animal Behavior course, a teacher took him under her wing. She presented him for a scholarship opportunity that allowed him to transfer to a four year university as a biology major. Slowly, Geanncarlo saw himself as a scientist. He says,
“I saw my future in front of me – all the sacrifice my grandmother made and said it has to be for something more.”
Now he sees that his future includes instilling a love of science in high school students. This winter he began that journey by guest teaching in a biology classroom at San Diego High School. We look forward to the great impact he will have on his future students!