In St. Lucia, we value working hard and treating people equally. I had to leave my home on this Caribbean island for college, but I carried these values with me, and I was thrilled to find people who share my mindset at MIT. I met many amazing friends and mentors during the 10-week MSRP-Bio program. Whether we were discussing science, hanging out on Friday night, or hiking through the mountains, I felt at home, and the relationships I formed will last long beyond the end of the summer.
Everyone I met during MSRP was so creative, but also so humble. The students and faculty were all excited to discuss ideas, and also willing to admit when the conversation reached the limits of their knowledge. I learned a ton at MIT, both about protein biochemistry and about scientific career paths. Balancing my life as a Navajo with my love of science is extremely important to me, and this summer helped me realize that a career in policy could combine my passions for research and native affairs.
UMass Amherst ’19 ● Post-MSRP: PhD student, UCSF Tetrad Program
During my time at MSRP, every member of my lab offered advice about experiments and guidance for graduate school. To get such robust and targeted feedback from experts in your field — who are also invested in you and care about you — has been incredibly empowering. You leave this program having forged new connections with rising scientists, and with a new perspective on how diverse your scientific trajectory can be. To say I am grateful for the opportunity would be to undersell it; this program has, without a doubt, made a significant impact on my path as a young scientist.
I had two main expectations about MIT before I got here. The first was that no one would give me the time of day and they’d be hard to talk to. Boy, was I wrong — the faculty are really accessible and engage you as a potential researcher. The other expectation was that everyone here would be hardworking, regardless of their field of study. And I was very pleased to find that’s the case. I have not met one person who would not go the extra mile to do their job correctly.
Bruna Lima, MSRP ’17
UMass Boston ’18 ● Post-MSRP: Research Assistant, Whitehead Institute
I was born in Cape Verde, and I have been in the US for about five years. Coming from a country where science is not done or supported very much, the opportunity to spend a summer doing research at MIT has been a critically important step in my career, and has made me more sure that I want a career in scientific research.
Asmita Panthi, MSRP ’17
South Carolina State University ’19 ● Post-MSRP: Research Intern, Novartis
I was born and raised in Nepal, one of the least developed countries in the world. Scientific discoveries seemed like miracles happening somewhere I could hardly imagine. Although I helped many people as a health professional in Nepal, I wanted to take part in the discovery process. As part of the MSRP-Bio summer program, I had an unprecedented opportunity to get familiar with various aspects of scientific research and have come to realize that the challenges, and possibilities, are much more than I imagined.
Elizabeth “Lizzie” Gorodetsky, MSRP ’17
CUNY Hunter College ’18 ● Post-MSRP: MD-PhD student, NYU
As a first generation American and a child of Ukrainian refugees, I feel honored to have had the chance to come to MIT this summer as well as conduct research in a field I hope to pursue in the future. I worked in Matthew Vander Heiden’s lab studying the regulation of biochemical pathways related to cancer cell proliferation. I will be the first physician and scientist in my family, and am incredibly grateful for the opportunity to participate in MSRP.
Yamilex Acevedo-Sánchez, MSRP ’17
University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez ’18 ● Post-MSRP: PhD student, MIT Biology
I am the first in my family to pursue a graduate education, and the second to attend a university, after my mom. Every time an experiment fails, I remember the tenacity and determination my mom had through her college years while raising my brother and me. I entered college with the sole purpose of getting into medical school, but fell in love with molecular and cellular biology. Ultimately, I want to transmit my passion to others and help open doors for those who are underrepresented and disadvantaged.
Barry University ’17 ● Post-MSRP: PhD student, MIT Biology
I am originally from Haiti and moved to Florida in 2008. My first experience at MIT was in January 2015 when I attended the MIT Quantitative Workshop for one week, and learned about the MRSP summer program. It was one of the best experiences of my life. The MIT community was very welcoming and nurturing (and prestigious!), which is why I decided to return for two more summers as an HHMI fellow. I am very grateful for the opportunities that the MSRP program offered.
Sheena Vasquez, MSRP ’14, ’15, ’16
University of Georgia ’17 ● Post-MIT: PhD student, MIT Biology
MSRP taught me to think critically about science. I participated in weekly lunches and dinners with renowned faculty who exposed me to many different areas of research I wouldn’t have considered pursuing. I felt challenged to learn new ways to solve problems and present my projects. In addition, I enjoyed bonding with people from all over the world through our love for science. MSRP gave me the courage to apply to graduate school and introduced me to a place I can comfortably call home for the next 5+ years.
Favour Akinjiyan, MSRP ’14, ’15
New York Institute of Technology ’16 ● Post-MSRP: MD-PhD student, Washington University in St. Louis
My MSRP experiences taught me that science is not always linear and experiments don’t always give binary results, so perseverance is key. My mentors Tania Baker and Stephane Calmat introduced me to the fascinating topic of protein degradation, which I still study, albeit in a cellular context. In 2014, I presented my findings at the Annual Biomedical Research Conference for Minority Students. My mentors continue to advise me on my career, and I seek a similar collaborative atmosphere in other settings.
Alicia Zamudio Montes de Oca, MSRP ’13, ’14
San Diego State University ’15 ● Post-MSRP: PhD student, MIT Biology
MSRP introduced me to a lot of people who shared my background and aspirations. Sharing both successes and challenges with these like-minded individuals made the whole summer experience better than I could have imagined. To this day, I still go to them for advice. Being able to conduct science in this fast-paced environment while having fun also gave me more confidence in my own abilities. MSRP also exposed me to the field of chromatin biology for the first time — a field I am now pursuing as a grad student studying mammalian gene expression.