"HCC faculty inspired me to pursue a career in science research."

— Emmanuel Smith, HCC graduate, Ph.D. in molecular medicine

When Emmanuel moved to the U.S. from Greece with his family, he wasn't sure if college was right for him. But the moment he attended a class at HCC, Emmanuel's outlook on higher education changed.

"Compared to colleges in Europe, HCC offered opportunities to explore different disciplines through electives," said Emmanuel. "I fell in love with biology and decided to make a career of it."

After earning an associate degree at HCC, Emmanuel transferred to USF, where he completed a B.S. in biology and a Ph.D. in molecular medicine with a research focus on structural biology and structure-based drug discovery. Now he's a research fellow at the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, studying the structure of human telomerase, an enzyme important in cancer and aging.

"The aging research field is growing, as interventions will have a tremendous impact in the treatment and prevention of age-related disease," Emmanuel said. "In 10 years I plan to run my own lab."