Supporting MSRP-Bio students was the perfect way to honor my parents — both MIT alumni. My father was a first-generation American on scholarship to MIT, and he later served as a professor and advisor to many generations of students. My wife and I have gained enormous satisfaction from supporting these bright, young minds. I cannot explain how gratifying it is to watch students with such incredible backstories go on to such successful careers. In this case, the giver may actually be the greatest beneficiary.
What makes the life sciences at MIT so extraordinary is their ability to transfer knowledge and inventions to society for its benefit. That is much of why Kendall Square and Boston are what they are. Kendall Square is to biopharma what Silicon Valley is to technology. None of the robust economic impact would have occurred if it hadn’t been for MIT’s life sciences. They help everyone, and now they need our help. I feel giving in this way is a cogent test of maturity and the state of one’s own heart.
I chose MIT Biology for two reasons: the department was committed to helping students succeed both as scientists and in life, and they promoted a strong network of support and collaboration between students. At MIT, my advisor, my classmates, and my professors have all been extremely supportive. On top of that, I had access to inspiring interdepartmental collaborations. I would like to thank Paul and Cleo Schimmel for their generous support — overall, MIT Biology is a great place to be a graduate student.
I came to MIT because of its outstanding research, and have been continually impressed by the breadth and impact of the work done in this department. In the Amon lab, I get to be a part of a team doing creative, rigorous science. Angelika’s mentorship and the department’s support have given me the opportunity to tackle ambitious questions. I’ve really enjoyed the collaborative spirit of the Koch Institute, where my lab is based, and benefited enormously from the expertise of the members of the core facilities.
During my undergraduate studies, I realized I enjoyed the challenge of biology and trying to make sense of the complexity of life. I knew I wanted to go to grad school and continue learning and performing research. I chose MIT because they had one of the best programs in terms of research in the country, and (in my opinion) the best community of faculty to learn from and work with. I am now working on understanding how cells decide what they will become and how they stick to that plan once they have made it.
Gould Fellow, 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.
MIT Biology is unique in that it prioritizes involving its students in its scientific community over getting them to work as soon as possible. The courses-only first semester and the introduction to the faculty during independent activities period create a tight-knit community of graduate students while integrating them into the greater biology community. This program allows students to become familiar with the faculty and research in the department before narrowing their interests to a specific lab.
Gould Fellow, 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.
At MIT, I was pleasantly surprised by the sense of community in the biology department and its commitment to training graduate students. From the unique first year program and a rigorous set of classes designed to make all MIT graduates well rounded biologists to the supportive faculty, I feel well supported and well trained, and the facilities provide a world-class place to conduct this research, especially with the new electron microscopy facility that will be established in the Nano building.
My goal is to pursue questions of interest to me, applying novel ideas and approaches to fill gaps in knowledge in the field of neuroscience. The Biology Graduate Program at MIT has provided me with the resources, training, and cutting-edge facilities to develop myself into a critical thinking, driven scientist. I am currently studying the synapse, the fundamental unit of communication in neurons, which could help unravel the complexity of the nervous system.
I chose to come to MIT Biology because I liked the way the structure of the program fosters community, and I believe having a strong community is essential for success and having a good experience overall. The research at the different MIT Biology institutes was cutting-edge, and their focus on studying basic science was appealing as well. In the future, I hope to lead my own research program in the field of cancer biology, and promote diversity in the sciences through mentoring and outreach.
The MIT Department of Biology encompasses a remarkable breath of biology within a very close-knit community that places a strong emphasis on graduate training. The first year curriculum provides a solid foundation in biology — the methods and logic course led us through the most rigorous dissection of scientific literature of any reading course I have ever taken. Once in the lab, the resources and collaborations available through MIT provide unparalleled opportunities to accelerate and advance your research.
After college, I became a research technician in the biological engineering department at MIT. So when the time came to decide where to apply to grad school, I had already experienced the exciting environment here. I enjoyed visiting several other schools, but I chose MIT because I liked that the classes are very rigorous, that the department is very collaborative and acts as one umbrella for many different types of biology, and that there are so many excellent labs studying different aspects of cancer biology.
Elizabeth “Lizzie” Gorodetsky
Gould Fellow, 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.
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.
I had tangential interactions with MIT as an undergrad at Harvard, all of which were positive. I had a very favorable impression of MIT’s institutional culture and the scientists it produced, so it was my top choice in applications. At interviews I was struck by the electric atmosphere on campus, the rigor and ambition of the research, and the caliber of students in the program, who were not only bright but also warm and welcoming. So far I am absolutely thrilled with my decision to join them.
Samuel Nkrumah Boampong
Gould Fellow, 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.
I was an MSRP student back in summer 2005, so returning as a grad student I was excited about the resources and faculty. I came in with a background in chemistry, and transitioning to biology was very hard. But in the end I was extremely satisfied with my training. I’d advise grads to get to know your classmates; those connections will be invaluable later on. Now as an Assistant Professor, I’d encourage students to interact with faculty and take advantage of all the resources that MIT has to offer.
The MIT Biology Graduate Program is structured to encourage graduate students to get a flavor of different sub-areas within biology, and that was the fit that I was looking for. I have come to realize that the program is all I expected and so much more. The biology community at MIT is vibrant and well knit; the professors are welcoming and excited to discuss their science, the graduate students know each other well, and the environment helps you be the best scientist you can be!
Gould Fellow, Univ. 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.
I chose MIT Biology because of the unique departmental community. At many large graduate programs, molecular biology is split up across many departments. MIT Biology provided me with many research options to pursue as a new graduate student under a single department. This has proven to be an excellent choice. Even beyond choosing a lab to do my graduate research in, MIT biology’s collaborative departmental structure continues to facilitate conversations with researchers outside my discipline.