Kaissa Duran has worked as a pharmacy tech for nine years. She started as a delivery driver at Silver Rexall Drugstore, is now the lead tech at CVS Pharmacy, and has her sights set on pharmacy school. “I love science. All the classes I’ve taken at WNMU have taught me a lot and gotten me ready for the next step,” said the chemistry major and cell and molecular biology minor.
Kaissa will graduate this spring and is giving herself a year to take the PCAT and get admitted to a program. In the meantime, she’s conducting research with WNMU faculty mentor Dr. Shiva Kyasa. She received funding from the New Mexico Alliance for Minority Participation to look into the decomposition of magic mouthwash, a solution prescribed to treat sores. “The rinse is a mixture of Benadryl, Maalox and lidocaine, which all have expiration dates of two years. Once it’s mixed, it can only be used for two weeks. I’m going to analyze it through GC-MS, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry,”she said, “and see what happens to the chemical structures.”
The first-time New Mexico Alliance for Minority Participation recipient got $1,000 for the research and additional funding for supplies. She’ll present the findings at the WNMU Academic Research Symposium and also at an NMSU symposium. “If we get good results, we can publish an article,” said Kaissa, who encourages other students to present ideas to their advisors. “Don’t hold back.”