Growing up in Guardo, a small village in the north of Spain at the foothills of the Picos de Europa mountains, Cecilia Bores Quijano was surrounded by amazing landscapes. She joined the local mountain club, taking hikes with experienced members who taught her the names of the different peaks and valleys.
She also developed an interest in science.
“I have always been fascinated by how the world works, from cosmology to nanoscience,” said Bores Quijano, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy.
“As a teenager, I enjoyed reading Carl Sagan or Isaac Asimov books, but I always felt like I was missing pieces. I thought that studying physics would help me to build that scaffold. When applying to college, I was debating between aerospace engineering and physics. I thought that physics was more interesting because it would give me a more solid foundation to understand the world, and more freedom to choose a career later on.”
After earning her Ph.D. at The Rocasolano Institute of Physical Chemistry in Madrid, Bores Quijano came to the U.S. in 2016 to learn more about the synthesis of zeolites at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. She completed her postdoctorate at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, where her research focused on how DNA is encapsidated inside of bacteriophages capsids.
She met and married Antonio in Spain, and while in Galveston, she gave birth to their son, Ramiro. Father and son are often spotted on campus riding their bikes or longboards, or at the women’s softball team’s games.
FIRST APP YOU LOOK AT IN THE MORNING:
AccuWeather. I am a bit obsessed with the weather. I like to know the temperature, humidity and wind direction. It is probably because of my interest in free flight, but it could also be due to my time living in the Gulf of Mexico!
ONE BOOK YOU HAVE READ MULTIPLE TIMES:
My favorite authors are Haruki Murakami and Gabriel Garcia Marquez. I have read “Tokio Blues,” many times, and I would love to find the time to re-read “Mil Años de soledad” ["One Hundred Years of Solitude"].
BEST ADVICE YOU EVER RECEIVED:
Focus your attention in the direction where you want to go (instead of where you don't want to go). My paragliding mentor used to tell me to look just where I want to land. If there is a single little bush in the middle of an open field when you are landing, you will end up on the bush if you look at it.
FAVORITE SPOT ON CAMPUS:
I have many. I like the gym, Jackson’s Garden, the kitchen area in the Physics Department (you can see the Nott Memorial from the window). My most favorite spot is the hills next to the football field. My family had a blast sledding on the snow during the winter.
Breakfast is an important meal for my family. We always have breakfast together: milk with oatmeal, raisins and walnuts, eggs and fruit. If I am on a trip, I always look for a good bakery with warm croissants.
I am not very loyal to any podcast. I usually listen to many interviews with the same person, no matter what platform they belong to. I am very into real food and mindful parenting these days. So, I read and listen to Dr. Lustig, Dr. Siegel or Dr. Kabat-Zinn the most.
ONE SKILL YOU WISH YOU HAD:
I wish I could dance flamenco! It is not as popular in the north of Spain as it is in the south. But I feel pretty emotional about it since I started to travel around Europe and America. I hope one day I will have the time to go to a dance school with a flamenco teacher.
LITTLE KNOWN FACT ABOUT YOU:
I have been a paragliding pilot since I was 14. I am not actively flying these days, but I enjoy kiting and spending time at the launch or LZ area with other pilots.
THREE DINNER PARTY GUESTS (living or deceased):
Margarita Salas, a Spanish scientist who devoted her life to study the replication of Bacteriophage ø29 DNA. After an impressive career, she has spent her last years helping to make visible the role of women in science. Nathy Peluso, an Argentinian singer that I listen to a lot at the gym. My grandmother, Quirina. I used to spend a lot of time at her farm house when I was little. She didn't have cows anymore, but she had a lot of cats, chickens, rabbits and dogs. I have learned a lot of life lessons from her.
I was about 13 when "La oreja de Van Gogh" (a Spanish pop band) played in my hometown. It was a fascinating experience going to my first concert with all my friends!