"Use your parent’s connections if they’re relevant to what you want to do, and don’t be afraid to cold-call either! I got my first lab experience through a contact, and I got the internship by calling every biotech-related company in SCV and asking if I could drop off my resume."
Here I am working in my lab analyzing something through a microscope!
My career roadmap has been somewhat defined.
Discovered interest in the idea of biomedical research from a brief lab experience through a nursing summer program for middle schoolers at COC (8th grade).
Interned at a local biomedical device company, Neotech Products. Learned about the quality assurance process and risk management for medical devices (Sophomore summer).
Gained lab experience in biomedical research during the summers at UCLA (Junior summer).
Joined the Hart District robotics team to explore engineering in a hands-on way (Junior - Senior year).
Conducted two summers of research in biomedical engineering at the University of Delaware. Presented poster at the 2019 National Science Foundation Engineering Education & Centers Conference in Arlington, Virginia (Senior summer, Freshman summer).
Currently working in a lab at MIT to create genetically engineered biologic therapies for cancer.
Here are my extracurriculars relevant to this pathway
DURING MY HIGH SCHOOL CAREER
Summer research at UCLA
Project 691 Robotics
DURING MY COLLEGE CAREER
Laboratory research, first in microfluidic devices (freshman year). Currently in synthetic biology.
Medlinks, a program where students are trained and equipped to offer first aid and mental health support to students on campus.
Laureates and Leaders, a program to help students from underrepresented minorities apply to PhD and MD/PhD programs.
What I'm currently doing/hope to do
Currently, I work in a lab to genetically engineer immune cells to more effectively fight cancer, but I have also explored microfluidic “lab on a chip” models and vascular tissue engineering. I’m hoping to continue to graduate school and medical school so that I can conduct research inspired by the clinic.
How to maximize my time in high school?
Advice #1: Take advantage of your summers! Apply early and widely to programs that are interesting to you, whether they are clinical, research, internships, coding, humanitarian work, etc. Start looking for programs in the fall, and plan to apply to at least 5 or as many as possible - they can be tough to get into. And only apply to the free ones!
Advice #2: Take advantage of the wide range of classes available at COC to figure out what you’re interested in and what you might not like as much as you thought.
Advice #3: Use your parent’s connections if they’re relevant to what you want to do, and don’t be afraid to cold-call either! I got my first lab experience through a contact, and I got the internship by calling every biotech-related company in SCV and asking if I could drop off my resume.
Advice #4: Don’t stress if you aren’t able to get lab experience/internships etc. during high school. Most people don’t get the chance to start until college! Just make sure that you are using your time productively, like taking classes, developing a hobby or talent, or volunteering in something you’re passionate about. It will work out in the end :)