Briana Torres is a compassionate and dedicated student who was driven to succeed at an early in her life.

Torres, a biochemistry major at Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, had a passion for science since high school. “Originally I came in as a biology/pre-med major but I ended up choosing biochemistry because of my organic chemistry class which was incredibly hard but at the same time incredibly rewarding,” Torres said. “I enjoy working in a lab and working with synthesis which is why I ended up changing my major so I can work with a synthesis project for my thesis instead of working with mice like most biology majors.” Torres would like to work as a researcher because of her enjoyment of being inside a lab.

Torres recently  accepted a position after graduation with Cargill, a company that provides food, agricultural, and industrial services throughout the world. Torres completed an internship with Cargill as a quality assurance intern. Torres hopes to work with the subgroup Cargill Value Added Protein, which focuses on providing quality value-added products for foodservice. “While working with them as a quality assurance intern, I worked with their eggs and they are the sole provider of eggs to McDonalds in the United States,” Torres said. “It was really fun. There was a lot of science involved and a lot of projects to work on in order to improve quality assurance around the plant.”

What prepared Torres for her internship was not only being involved in research, but also  her organic chemistry class at Saint Mary’s. “Organic chemistry is challenging and a person has to be more careful with their waste,” Torres said. “Saint Mary’s professors prepared us. They have instilled good qualities in us as researchers especially with our lab notebooks by making sure we document everything. Some schools do not emphasize that, and that is really a big deal when you are in the industry.”

Torres plans to further her education by attending graduate school in hopes of obtaining her Ph.D., but first she wants to work full-time with Cargill in order to gain experience.

Torres loves being involved and helping others. That quality of service is one of the main Lasallian principles instilled in her since attending St. Joseph’s High School, a Lasallian school in Westchester, Ill.

The First Generation Initiative (FGI) Program prepared Torres academically by keeping her life organized. “I always appreciated having study hall because it helped me get into the groove of college with improving my time management skills,” Torres mentioned. “FGI was there for me as a backbone to develop good qualities to have as a student. The FGI program motivates students by showing them the potential each of them has.”

Torres believes meeting the benefactors is important. She wants to know the reasoning and passion behind funding this great program. “The benefactors can make a huge impact with just talking and networking with us. When writing letters to them every year, I would love to hear from them,” Torres said.