My scientific journey started with the study of biochemistry, as I was interested in the internal chemical workings of living organisms. I got my bachelor's at the University of Havana, Cuba; and went on to work on cancer and tumor cell biology. Ph.D. studies took me to Sweden, and postdoc work to Southern California (La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology), where I found my new home. After a brief stint at a biotech company it was clear to me that my heart was in teaching, and in 2012 became Assistant professor at National University, a California private non-profit specialized in accelerated learning. Over time I realized that I missed bench research, and also that coursework based on research is the best way to teach science. In the past years have been involved in a number of initiatives bringing authentic research to undergraduate classrooms, such as the Genomics Education Partnership, GCAT-SEEK, and the Small World Initiative, and learned the power and possibilities of next generation DNA sequencing and metagenomics. The ocean has always been a passion and interest of mine, so the idea to follow-up Emelia's studies exploring the microbes on microplastics on coastal plastic was extremely appealing to me. This project has the potential to become a rich citizen science and educational project, providing information useful for scientists, policy makers, and the general public.