Transcript

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hi i’m enya mystery i’m a senior at irvington 
high school and some of the programs that i

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have attended in the past has been gene love 
for high school such as that is at nasa ames

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research center i’m part of the blue marble space 
institute of science young scientist program

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which is also at the nasa ames research 
center summer internships at stanford

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i actually applied my sophomore year around 
like march and i just i kind of shotgunned

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for internships because i knew i wanted to 
go into biology and this internship was in

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space biology which is basically the study of how 
space impacts humans and organisms biologically

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and molecularly and cellularly so i found it 
really cool and i kind of just applied because

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i thought it would be interesting to do it i 
didn’t think i would get in it was a four-week

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program the first two weeks you’re first learning 
about space biology and you’re talking with um

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professors you’re talking with scientists at 
nasa ames and you talk with astronauts who are

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in space so they like call you from space 
so the one that we talked to was they were

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in space studying some plants and biodiversity and 
microorganisms in space so we got to talk with one

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of the astronauts through a zoom call and then 
we meet with a lot of like the undergraduates and

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postdocs who are working there and they serve 
as your mentors and then the second two weeks

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you’re basically creating a research proposal 
which is focused on um so you’re assigned a

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certain organism so i was given the most musculus 
which is basically the mouse the house mice and

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they were sent to space in the russian bion 
m1 space flight around like a few years ago

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and all the data is in a repository on the gene 
lab databases and we conduct research on it so my

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research was on the prevalence of type 2 diabetes 
caused by hypergravity in space and we created a

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whole research proposal and in the end we present 
it to all the scientists at nasa ames who are in

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the space biosciences branch and it’s basically a 
competition of who gets a grant to do their work

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we got second place so instead what happened was 
that i one of my mentors um i worked with him

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during the whole program and he invited me to come 
through something called the blue marble scientist

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program which is run by dr sanjoy song and it’s 
usually for just undergraduates and postdocs but

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he brought me in as a high schooler so now i work 
in the space biosciences branch bone and signaling

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lab and i do research on newts and regeneration in 
space at nasa the way it works is you kind of stay

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tied with all the mentors there so if you ever 
kind of want a job in the future or you want to

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stay working with them it’s pretty easy once 
you get in and start networking with people

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nasa ames is the main research center 
so gene lab for high schools and

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the other one which is called ysb program which 
is blue marble ysp is only here because ysb runs

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with only nasa ames so it’s a separate company 
that works with nasa ames um where it brings

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in young scholars to work there but i know 
there’s like um i think at the johnson space

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flight center there’s something called genes 
in space which is also space biology program

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so there’s like different kinds of programs 
that people run for high schoolers and non-high

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schoolers but it depends on the location and um 
it was in a residential program and i got paid for

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both of them so the first one is a 600 dollar 
stipend and the second one is you get paid um

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17 an hour the first one wasn’t flexible 
it was like a nine to five program for gene

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for gene lab but then the ysp program it was um 
i just gave my schedule to my mentor and he like

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worked around it and we just set up times 
where i could come in and work in the lab

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i think the best part was the exposure to 
something that was so different and talking

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with so many different scientists and researchers 
having them flown in to come to speak to you was

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crazy because it’s really rare that you get the 
opportunity to speak with people who are directly

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in the field and this is a niche space biology so 
learning something new was really fun for me um

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and i discovered like it was my passion 
as well which was amazing and the fact

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that you get paid for it paid to learn is 
one of the best things that could happen

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and the fact that you’re doing it at nasa too 
um it’s just the networking and the amount of um

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help that you get and you realize like oh they’re 
not as scary as they were when you like initially

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talk to them you realize like how down to earth 
all these scientists are i got inspired by them

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and i’m sure that they want to do 
that to a lot of future people as well

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um the worst part i would say

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i really enjoyed the program actually i didn’t 
really find any bad things about it maybe the fact

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that maybe it was only four weeks i would have 
liked it if it was a bit longer because everything

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was like we were we were working nine to five 
so i would get like exhausted um after that

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so nasa ames has like four different 
dining places and they’re all really good

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and they have like good burgers and things like 
that so no one needs to worry about the food um

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you do have to bring your own money for the 
food though or you can bring your own lunch

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in terms of friends like i still 
talk to the friends that i made

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we have like a group chat and we facetime like 
once or twice a week and we’re all really really

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close since you’re with them like almost eight 
hours a day you really make good friends and

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people who are on the same like intellectual level 
as you so it lasts for a really really long time

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it really really helped because it was a niche 
that i was interested in i kind of focused my

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entire application on that well not the entire 
thing but a lot of it um and focusing on what i

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want to do in the future and i think that really 
played an important role in my college application

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process because as an asian girl applying in 
biology that’s one of the most common things that

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you can find so um adding that little um nation 
there really helped bring out my application

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obviously it’s not just nasa or not just your 
internships that are gonna get you in anywhere

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but um i have gotten into uh like some really 
good colleges one of them i can’t say it but

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i’ve gone into the university of michigan so far 
and then one of my top schools i’ve gotten into

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when i first applied i didn’t even know what space 
biology was it was just like i applied on a whim

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because it was like it sounded cool and 
then when you’re like working with all

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these scientists you realize um the research that 
they’re doing and realizing how many implications

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it has for the future and that’s kind of 
how it started in terms of biology itself

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i was interested since like fifth grade i’ve 
been like doing like a bunch of camps um

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like at the local museums there are like a few 
camps over there and then just attending like

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small research camps and i did some stanford 
internships before that so um obviously

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localized internships are a lot easier to get so 
that’s where i kind of um it fueled my passion a

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little bit more and then space biology was kind 
of the niche inside the passion that i found

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for anyone who’s applying i would say

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so basically the questions are like really 
simple when you’re applying to it it’s just

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they don’t look that you have any experience 
in space biology necessarily you just want

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people who want to learn and the main reason 
they are creating this program is to inspire

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the next generation of future scientists and when 
you’re looking into the feature for space travel

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um it’s coming quite soon there’s the nasa 
rtms program where they’re launching the first

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human civilization on the moon and then they’re 
going to be doing more deep space exploration

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so they want to prepare younger scientists 
for the future and introducing this to them

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is what they would look for so they’re 
just looking for motivated students who

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are willing to open themselves up to 
a new topic and really want to learn

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you