Transcript

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my name is shakuntala and i’m from the bay area 
and i’m currently a first year at berkeley i’m

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intending to major in mcb which is molecular 
cell biology and i attended cosmos in 2019

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at irvine and i was in cluster 1.

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so cosmos has i believe they have nine clusters 
um and the clusters range on like a bunch of

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different topics in stem most of the clusters in 
irvine are like surrounding biology um and there

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are a lot of engineering clusters too and the 
cluster i was in was basically on proteins so

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we studied proteins we had two professors and 
when i did cosmos in 2019 it was the first year

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that our professors were doing um the program so 
it was a little bit unstructured but i believe

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they have like a proper curriculum now um you can 
like read on all the different clusters there’s

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like four campuses and it really doesn’t matter 
which campus you go to they’re all pretty much the

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same they’re under the same board and just like 
look into the ones that you’re most interested in

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our program was four weeks it was like the first 
time they had our clusters so it was a little bit

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unstructured but basically what we would do is 
every day we got up and then all of us walked to

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like a building they booked for us like a room 
they booked for us and a professor would like

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lecture us on different topics and like assign 
us readings about what we were researching so

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our cluster was basically researching on like 
a protein called apkc we were like trying to

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mimic an enzyme um that was revolving cancer so 
we kind of lectured on basic bio and chem topics

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especially because a lot of us are high schoolers 
so we don’t have like that advanced knowledge on

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these topics and they kind of break it down in 
terms of chem and bio and how everything works

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we decided what amino acid to change in like a 
sequence of dna and we kind of worked on like

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a lab and we like made our own proteins and 
we learned a lot of bio techniques like gel

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phosphorization and just being able to see if our 
experiment worked um i think it was my cluster was

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a bit more hands-on i know a few other clusters 
they kind of just jumped into like they had a

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short thing on coding and then they just jumped 
into like doing their projects but for us we had

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a lot more like lecturing and reading which 
personally i like because it helped me like

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understand how to read papers which is like a 
lot of what you do when you work in a lab later

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for irvine it’s random rooming you can like 
pick a roommate but i went random because i

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just didn’t know anyone going to the program um 
and you live in the you live in a residential

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hall and it’s a suite and i believe all 
the buildings are with your gender in them

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um so like male or female i’m not sure about like 
other i i don’t think they had for other like

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non-identifying socially i like the they had a lot 
of mixer activities for people but again i kind of

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didn’t like how they like divided it by gender 
because i feel like it was a little bit hard

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um to like just become friends with people who 
weren’t the same like who weren’t female or who

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weren’t really identifying or female identifying 
um and then you also got to mix with your cluster

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and we all kind of ate together i think 
it was mostly you ate with your cluster

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for lunch and then breakfast and 
dinner you can get with your friends

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um i like met a bunch of girls in my building so 
that was kind of nice and i’m still in touch with

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them like to today um like i zoomed them all the 
time and like um one of my friends like wanted an

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internship so like i hooked them up so i think 
it’s like a really good program if you’re like

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looking to build a community because you’re kind 
of building a community with a lot of like-minded

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individuals who are also in a similar area to you 
so even when you go to college like you can find

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a like college roommate or like college friends a 
lot of people in my cosmos program actually go to

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berkeley so like for example this year when i 
was like trying out for a bunch of clubs like

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i saw a lot of people from irvine and it was 
just like something that we were like hey you

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went to cosmos at irvine like and we kind of hop 
from there and like we talk and stuff like that

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i really can’t point out many like bad things 
about the program but i feel like the best part

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of the program for me was just being able to work 
with a bunch of people who are my age in a lab

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i also like interned at a lab separately at like 
ucsf but that wasn’t with anyone like my age there

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were a few undergrads at our lab but i really like 
how you’re just able to like work with people your

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age um and learn about something that you’re 
not really able to learn about at school and

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finally like present it it’s like a really fun 
activity but also it adds to your resume later

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um in the future when you want to like work 
out a lot when you give people like your

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poster at cosmos they kind of look at it and 
it’s like something you have under your boat

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but other than that just like learning 
about different topics was great

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i guess the one thing i don’t i guess i 
didn’t like at cosmos is i feel like i

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wish they would allow you to apply to clusters 
in different campuses because some like for me

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i liked a cluster at davis and one at 
irvine but i just wasn’t wasn’t able

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to apply to that because you have to only 
apply like choose one campus to apply to

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i chose irvine i think i mainly chose it 
because i just liked two of the clusters a

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little bit more and there was like more 
biology clusters especially because i

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want to go into like pre-med and biology um i 
also just like the location i like in cosmos you

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do like a bunch of trips i’m not sure because 
of zoom it’s going to be different but in the

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case that you do go back to normal there’s a 
bunch of trips that we go on and i just liked

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the social aspect like they took us to the beach 
and they took us to the zoo which was really fun

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and their memories i still have today and i like 
have my polaroids on my wall too which is like

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cute i believe it was like four thousand 
dollars that you also have to pay to apply

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but they do give funding to people who are 
like unable to um and i’m pretty i think

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they were kind of generous like i know quite 
a few individuals who are unable to afford it

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but if you are you can always reach out and 
they will accommodate towards your needs

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personally i didn’t really have any expectations 
it was like the first summer program i went to

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and before going to cosmos i worked at a lab and

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working at a lab as a high schooler is like i 
think it’s a little bit more flexible where you’re

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kind of able to do whatever you want to do and 
like make a fit whatever you want to make of it i

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don’t i didn’t i don’t think i expected them 
to be as hands-on just because i didn’t know i

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would like have the knowledge to be able to do 
like experiments but like after they lectured

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us and we were actually able to like carry on 
our own experiments i kind of found it i guess

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exceeding my expectations a little bit because i 
didn’t expect them to like give let us be as free

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but i really appreciate that they did because 
i feel like it also let me learn about teamwork

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and like adapting to what your team wanted because 
when you’re working in the real world you’re not

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able to just like do whatever you want you have 
to listen to everyone else in your group and like

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contribute equally which i learned a lot from 
cosmos so i talked about cosmos and my essays

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and i think it was something like i could like 
talk about and also something that helped me like

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learn what i wanted to do in a career i know like 
a few of my friends at cosmos they were like in a

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bio cluster or like they were in a computer 
science cluster where they were coding and

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after going there they kind of realized it wasn’t 
something they were interested in so i feel like

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it kind of helps you to like discover what you 
want to do in a career especially because we’re

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so young and we have so much time like even 
when you go to college you’re not gonna know

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automatically what you want to do and that’s 
totally okay um also i feel like it does help

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in the sense that it kind of adds something to 
write about and something that you kind of are

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passionate about um and going to cosmos definitely 
helps to like get into a lab in the future or like

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get into an internship in the future which 
is what a lot of students at colleges do

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if you’re going to apply to cosmos i would say 
start early because i think the first cycle it’s

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like your first time kind of applying new like a 
program in the way you do for cosmos with like a

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rec letter and like essays and also just like be 
honest in your application when our professors

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were talking about how they chose people to get 
into the program it’s not really about your grades

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and your stats but it’s just they’re looking 
for people who are open to learn so when you’re

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writing your application just like talk about how 
you’re really passionate about the topic and how

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you want to learn and what you’re going to gain 
instead of kind of flaunting what you already have

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you