MSRP Testimonials

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Alicia Zamudio Montes de Oca

MSRP 2013, 2014 ● San Diego State University ’15 ● PhD candidate, MIT (Young Lab)

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.

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Manuel A. Ortega

MSRP 2009 ● University of Puerto Rico at Mayagüez ’10 ● PhD ’15, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign ● Merck Fellow of the Life Sciences Research Foundation, MIT (Drennan Lab)

My favorite part of MSRP was connecting with other students also looking to enhance their scientific skills. We made an incredible bond and I still keep in touch with a couple of them. Performing research at MIT was an exceptional experience that boosted my confidence as a scientist. I experienced what it was like to do research in cell and developmental biology, and it gave me the confidence to explore other research areas like biochemistry — the subject I ended up pursuing in graduate school.

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Kwadwo Owusu-Boaitey

MSRP 2012, 2013 ● University of Maryland, Baltimore County ’14 ● MD/PhD student, Harvard/MIT MD-PhD Program

MSRP taught me that science is best done in collaboration. I was excited to come in each day to learn from my lab mates, develop my own ideas, and find answers to the questions that kept us up at night. I worked on mammary gland biology and had a blast; it is so cool that organs like the mammary glands go through repeated cycles of growth and decay, and that I was able to grow one in a dish. MSRP truly taught me that few things can replace genuine excitement and hard work.

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Francisco Sánchez-Rivera

MSRP 2007, 2008 ● University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez ’08 ● PhD ’15, MIT (Jacks Lab) ● HHMI Hanna Gray Fellow, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

My years at MIT have been truly transformative, both personally and scientifically. Even though I faced some technical and personal difficulties during my graduate studies, I was able to finish with a PhD thesis that I am very proud of. Even though I took longer than the average student, I can honestly say that I am 100% sure that coming to MIT was the right thing for me, and I am 100% sure that doing research and eventually running my own lab in the academic setting is my path in life.

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Bruna Lima

MSRP 2017 ● UMass Boston ’18

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.

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Asmita Panthi

MSRP 2017 ● South Carolina State University ’18

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.

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Elizabeth “Lizzie” Gorodetsky

MSRP 2017 ● CUNY Hunter College, ’18

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.

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Samuel Nkrumah Boampong

MSRP 2017 ● Fisk University ’18

I came to the U.S. from Ghana to experience a rich undergraduate education and research. At the MSRP program, I learned so much from fellow summer students and even the people I met on my way to lab. I really love the way the infinite corridor comes to life with all different kinds of people, some immersed in scientific work and others just appreciating the beauty of it. People with different backgrounds and personalities are brought together by their scientific pursuits to answer fundamental and important questions.

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Yamilex Acevedo-Sánchez

MSRP 2017 ● University of Puerto Rico, Mayagüez ’18

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.

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Yisi Lu

MSRP 2011 ● Smith College ’12 ● PhD candidate, Yale University

MSRP introduced me to cutting-edge science. Afterwards, I was determined to pursue a higher education in biology and inspired to become a scientist. Since then, I have become even more fascinated by different aspects of science. My MSRP projects related to cancer biology and spurred my passion for immunology, which later helped me land a research assistant position at MIT. One amazing experience led to another, and now I am doing a PhD in immunology.

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Talia Guardia

MSRP 2013 ● Barry University ’14 ● MD-PhD student, UMD School of Medicine

My favorite part of MSRP was working in the Jacks lab. I learned to think like a scientist, and, although I saw how challenging research can be when an experiment fails, the experience heightened my passion for cancer research. I enjoyed being in the lab and thinking about scientific questions that I wanted to help answer. Many of my peers from MSRP are still very close friends, and I turn to them to discuss research questions and future career goals.

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Sheena Vasquez

MSRP 2014, 2015, 2016 ● Georgia Perimeter College ’15, University of Georgia ’17 ● PhD candidate, MIT

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.

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Bertina Telusma

MSRP 2015, 2016, 2017 ● Barry University ’17 ● PhD student, MIT

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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.

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Kristin Fitzpatrick

MSRP 2014 ● Southern Oregon University ’15 ● PhD candidate, University of Washington

MSRP opened many doors for my career — it was essentially a mini-graduate school experience, complete with seminars, mentorship, and technical training. It was also the first time I felt included in a rigorous and supportive research community. I felt seen, valued, and respected. MIT still feels like an intellectual home for me, and it will always have a place in my heart. I keep in touch with my cohort, and we continue to share brain food, like journal articles and other snippets. MIT fam for life!

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Favour Akinjiyan

MSRP 2014, 2015 ● New York Institute of Technology ’16 ● Post-baccalaureate Scholar, Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research

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.