Outreach Testimonials

Six students in lab coats and a professor in the middle in black

LEAH Knox Scholar

Summer 2017

The worms, even though they were really gross, were also very fascinating, especially seeing the different types. My favorite part about working at MIT was the instructors. I liked how easy they were to talk to because it is not usually as easy for me to do so.

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Nicole Aponte Santiago

QMW attendee 2011 ● PhD candidate, MIT Biology

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The workshop allowed me to network with MIT professors and students; I got advice about how to apply to MIT, listened to talks, and was introduced to the scientific literature. I also got a basic introduction to programming and realized how useful it is in biological research. Now, as a grad student in the Littleton lab, I use fruit flies to study changes in connections in motor neurons due to neuronal activity — research which requires programming for image analysis.

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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.

Three students in lab coats looking at test tubes

LEAH Knox Scholar

Summer 2017

I liked that we were able to identify bacteria from a local area. My favorite thing about working at MIT was being able to get a real-life lab experience, and I liked that our instructors were really helpful and understanding.

Joey Velez-Ginorio

QMW instructor 2017 ● University of Central Florida ’18

The Quantitative Methods Workshop was an incredible experience. I was able to design and teach a workshop on Python, and test strategies for communicating these ideas in a way that resonates with students from many different fields: computer science, chemistry, biology, etc. One student even emailed me after and said the workshop inspired them to enroll in an introductory programming course. These things make the experience so rewarding, and I look forward to teaching again at the 2018 workshop.

Group of happy female and male students in lab coats holding lab equipment

LEAH Knox Scholar

Summer 2017

Not only did we have the opportunity to work in MIT’s labs with their equipment and conduct intense experiments, but we also got to work with MIT professors and instructors. My peers and professors were very willing to help and concerned with helping each other, and it was also beneficial to be surrounded by people who loved science. My favorite experiment was the sporulation assay, because I was able to develop the procedure on my own and see great results.

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Mariluz Soula

QMW attendee 2016 ● Florida International University ’18

The workshop was an incredible experience. I was able to meet and network with amazingly bright and motivated students, and the intense, fast paced program ensured we all made the most of our time while fostering teamwork. I was exposed to the programming languages used in MatLab, ImageJ, and Python. During a fellowship that same year, I used my newfound skills to write a program and analyze dozens of z-stacks efficiently — allowing my team to draw important conclusions from the work I had been doing.

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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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Leah Barton

Summer Workshop attendee 2008, 2009, 2015

I’ve attended the workshops out of personal interest, and to network with other teachers. I’ve gained the ability to share snippets of information and experiences with my students. This adds both richness and substance to my teaching practices, and connects students with the real-world implications of information “in the textbook.” Very few of the labs have been immediately applicable to my practice, but having done them enables me to do a better job designing investigations for my students.

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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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Lorraine De Jesús-Kim

QMW attendee 2014, 2015 ● PhD candidate, MIT Biology

The workshop introduced me to multiple quantitative tools and programs. I had never used these tools before, and I didn’t know they could be applied so extensively across so many areas of biology. By explaining how they use these programs in their own research, the instructors gave me a concrete idea about how to analyze my own scientific results, and I later applied to grad school at MIT. I currently study protein-protein interactions using MATLAB — thanks to the workshop, this program is no longer intimidating!

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Mónica Quiñones Frías

QMW attendee 2014 ● PhD candidate, MIT Biology

I didn’t have any computational biology experience before the workshop, which allowed me to explore different aspects of the field in a matter of days. I learned MATLAB, and I also learned to use ImageJ to analyze the intensity of different fluorescent proteins in an image. I continue to use these same techniques today to analyze the images I take with confocal microscopes as part of my research in the Littleton lab.

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Mentewab Ayalew, PhD

Associate Professor & Vice Chair, Biology ● Spelman College

I encourage my students to attend the workshops, and have even attended myself. Students learn to solve biological problems using quantitative and computational approaches, and many can’t wait to take additional computer science courses after they return. They are exposed to new concepts, ideas, and ongoing research at MIT that challenge them to integrate quantitative thinking into their work. They also receive formal and informal advice about applying to graduate school.

Group of people looking at brain in lab.

Anndy Dannenberg

Summer Workshop attendee since 2002

I’ve attended the workshops out of personal interest, and to network with other teachers. I’ve gained the ability to share snippets of information and experiences with my students. This adds both richness and substance to my teaching practices, and connects students with the real-world implications of information “in the textbook.” Very few of the labs have been immediately applicable to my practice, but having done them enables me to do a better job designing investigations for my students.

Group of students surrounding an instructor, whose hands are over a white bucket

Nancy Cianchetta

Field Trip attendee 2015, 2017

I’ve taken many of my students on field trips to MIT biology over the years. We’ve done career exploration days, lectures, and more; these programs are among the best, and we’ve used some aspects of what we’ve observed as a launch point for our STEM Academy. My students absolutely love coming to MIT — they’re hardworking kids with varied backgrounds, and after visiting they are often inspired to apply to MIT for college.

Group of five students looking at test tubes

LEAH Knox Scholar

Summer 2017

I especially liked the UV experiment, because I liked figuring out which level of UV caused cell death. I also enjoyed getting to know my instructors and peers.

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David Eatough

Summer Workshop attendee, 2007, 2008, 2014, 2016

The workshop curriculum is incredibly enriching and reflects the latest research. It is intellectually and professionally stimulating to be surrounded by like-minded, passionate peers. I’ve woven workshop content throughout my classes, using prepared slides to demonstrate morphogenesis in class, and the StarGenetics program to reinforce Mendelian genetics. It is important for my students to see that despite my advancing age, I consider myself — above all — a learner, and that I am deeply interested in science.

Female and male students in lab coats looking at dish

LEAH Knox Scholar

Summer 2017

I loved the experience of meeting the scholars and professors from MIT, as well as the environment and the workplace. Whenever we had lunches with the professors or students from MIT, we also had the opportunity to ask a lot of questions, which was a highlight. The instructors were incredibly knowledgeable and helpful whenever I needed help with anything. I really enjoyed the UV assays although I had to do it a dozen times. I feel like each time we did it, we got better.

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Ken Bateman

Field Trip attendee 2010-17

The field trips have always been a great opportunity for my students to see aspects of biology that they would not normally see in their own classroom — to see science ‘in action.’ Most notably, they’ve had the chance to listen to lectures about the research going on at MIT, and the opportunity to talk to grad students and scientists about what they do on a daily basis. My students always remember and are inspired by their trips to MIT.

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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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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.

Ana M Caldeira

Field Trip attendee 1998-2017

The field trips motivated my students to pursue careers in science. Often surprised by how young the scientists were, they would say, “I can also be a scientist.” The virtual classroom and fruit fly lab were always successes; students had learned fruit fly biology and Punnett squares before, but learning about them at MIT using a computer program was outstanding. And there were always grad students available to help explain. These trips are invaluable.

Person with glasses standing in lab

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.

Flona Redway, PhD

Biology Instructor, RISE Program Director ● Barry University

I encourage my students to attend the workshop so they can develop computational thinking skills and learn quantitative approaches. After just seven days, they are more interested in computer science and biotechnology, have a working knowledge of PYTHON and MATLAB, and take a more critical approach to their investigations. They return with a new level of excitement about research and the possibilities of computational approaches. In fact, we are now proposing a course in computational and quantitative biology.

Group of students surrounding an instructor, whose hands are over a white bucket

Nancy Cianchetta

Summer Workshop attendee 2015, 2017

I attended the summer workshops to gain quality instruction and cutting-edge knowledge to share with my students and fellow teachers.  For instance, I learned and practiced brain dissection techniques that I’ve since used in my Anatomy & Physiology classes. Because of the work we did with backyard brains equipment one summer, I have also included related activities and discussions in my engineering classes as well.

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Jill Moran

Summer Workshop attendee 2017

I decided to participate in the summer workshop because I wanted to learn about cutting edge topics within the realms of neuroscience, artificial intelligence, and biomechanics. As I’d hoped, the speakers on neuroscience and fMRI imaging were amazing, and I’ve since incorporated more current research and practices — including the neuroplasticity vision goggle lab and various dissection techniques —  into my anatomy and physiology classes. Being able to share the research being conducted at MIT with students is invaluable!

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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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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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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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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.

Two male students in lab coats holding up round clear trays/gels

LEAH Knox Scholar

Summer 2017

My favorite experiment of the summer was when we went to the Charles River and collected a bottle of water from the river, and then poured the water on different gels and cultivated bacteria. The professors at MIT are nice and know a lot, and my peers were friendly and helpful. The people, food, and the labs in the LEAH Knox Scholars program are the best!

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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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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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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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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.