Story in the College of Arts & Sciences
Elico Teixeira '08
Engineering physics major
For engineering physics major, Santa Clara's emphasis on community set him up for success in research and graduate school.
Elico Teixeira wanted an intimate setting for his undergraduate studies—so he was drawn to Santa Clara, with its small classes taught by professors, rather than teaching assistants. He found what he needed to flourish, earning a degree in engineering physics and, the next year, in business finance; he's now pursuing graduate studies in management science and engineering at Stanford.
"By my sophomore year I had formed meaningful relationships with professors and peers across campus," says Teixeira. "I cannot stress how important these relationships have been to my success."
During his senior year, Teixeira worked in the biology lab of Dr. Leilani Miller, identifying how cells develop into their specialized forms. More specifically, researchers in the lab identify protein interactions that can act as cell development triggers. The project will ultimately help scientific understanding of how cells become different from one another.
"The way the system works is incredibly cool," says Teixeira. Through several relational steps, the protein interactions are identified when a clear solution turns blue. "Of course there is a lot more science behind this, but I find it fascinating that such a complex and elegant system boils down to such a simple result," he says.
The people at Santa Clara made the difference for Teixeira's experience. "The community is really what differentiates this small campus from any other major university. Personally, I was deeply influenced by the Jesuit way of thinking; the tradition believes in a shift to view the world from a 'we' perspective rather than a 'me' perspective. Our decisions need to always take into account our community," he says.
And this perspective has influenced his decision to pursue work in alternative energy initiatives: "I am most interested in the opportunities biofuels may provide as well as the future of solar energy, specifically organic photovoltaic devices. Santa Clara has not only fueled my interests in alternative energy and medicine, but I believe my broad education here has provided the fundamentals I will need to succeed in further graduate studies."