WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — With a wedding and graduation just
around the corner, senior Gabriel Rangel is excited for the future as he
finishes up his last week at Purdue University.
Rangel, a biochemistry major from Indianapolis, will be
moving to Boston shortly after his June wedding. He will attend Harvard School
of Public Health, where he will continue researching something he is very
passionate about — malaria.
“I’m really excited about science,” he said “I’m very
passionate about understanding how things work. But I’m also really excited
about helping impoverished communities develop.
“The intersection of these two things is researching
diseases that affect impoverishment. If we can get rid of the medical burden,
people in developing regions can focus more on their economic or personal
Rangel was named Top Senior in Agriculture at Purdue and is
the first student to have received the honor every year since beginning as a
Although he does not have an agricultural background, Rangel
came across the College of Ag on a tour of the school and decided it was the
right place for him.
“I talked to Dr. Scott Briggs in the Biochemistry Department
when I was touring here,” Rangel recalled. “He told me I could get into research
as early as freshman year. That was something that no other university I was
“The atmosphere that I got from Purdue, especially the
College of Agriculture and the Biochemistry Department, is another reason I came
here. They are so welcoming. It was a lot like a family.”
Rangel has worked as an intern for the Indiana University
Simon Cancer Center, the University of Maryland School of Medicine and Harvard
School of Pubic Health. He also has worked in the lab with Briggs at Purdue for
Rangel is involved in student government, Biochemistry Club,
Youth Advocating Leadership and Learning, Raising Awareness of International
Medicine and many other organizations, many of which focus on mentoring youth
and helping others. Last year, he planned a trip for a small group of students
to travel to New Jersey for Hurricane Sandy relief.
“Even if you’re not neighbors with somebody, it’s important
to take into account what you can do, what skills that you have that you can use
to help other people,” he said. “I think Purdue does a good job at culturing
people to think that way, especially in the College of Agriculture.”
Rangel credits his academic advisers for helping him achieve
so much during his college career. He noted that without their direction, there
are internships and opportunities of which he would not have been aware.
Reflecting on his journey at Purdue, Rangel had nothing but
good things to say.
“There have been a ton of opportunities to grow as a
biochemist, academically and socially as a leader,” he said. “Being in a lab has
helped me develop my scientific-thinking abilities, which has allowed me to get
the opportunities I have now.
“But then the leadership development, through things like
student government and Biochemistry Club outreach, has been huge.”
In the future, Rangel would like to be a professor doing
research and mentoring students or working with international health policy.