Academic and Professional Ambitions
What inspired you to major in science?
“I have always aspired to be an engineer who was able to take new ideas and transform them into inventions. Having grown up in Rockford, Illinois, an industrial city in the Rust Belt, I’m fascinated by all sorts of machinery and enjoy working in the shop with cars. In college, my interests have expanded into the biomedical sciences and how to convert knowledge about the human physiology and the progression of pathologies such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s into novel treatments.”
What’s the larger significance of your Amgen Scholars research? What’s your ultimate career goal?
“In the lab I’m working at, we are trying to identify regions of high vulnerability in the brain with the hope of identifying relevant biomarkers in disorders such as Alzheimer’s and traumatic brain injury. In the future, I wish to become a scientist that is able to take techniques firmly grounded in decades of research in engineering and physics and apply them towards understanding complex biological systems, be they the complex system of proteins that drive a single cell’s behavior or the hundred billion neurons in the human brain.”
Why did you apply to the Amgen Scholars Program?
“I greatly enjoy working with people from a wide variety of backgrounds to develop unconventional solutions to new problems. The labs at UCSF provide the opportunity to interact with researchers from many fields and backgrounds on a daily basis. These interactions will help me to explore the various fields of bioengineering and settle on a direction for graduate school and the rest of my career.”
What aspects of the program are you most enjoying this summer?
“I greatly enjoy discussing research with other Amgen Scholars, both at UCSF and at other sites during the U.S. symposium. Even though many of us are tackling the same large-scale problems (cancer, Alzheimer’s, autoimmune diseases, etc.) seeing how each individual lab approaches their own small part of the overall goal of understanding and curing pathologies puts the work we do into perspective.”