NASA: Gene Lab for High School & Blue Marble Young Scientist Program

NASA: Gene Lab for High School & Blue Marble Young Scientist Program

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

Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES)

Minority Introduction to Engineering and Science (MITES)

Transcript

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i’m yo vidyal i’m a first year in college 
and i’m currently in texas but i’m from hakel

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i attended the minority’s introduction 
to engineering and science hosted by mit

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and i attended summer 2019 and well covid wasn’t 
a thing so obviously i went there in person

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so the program was a six-week residential um 
program that you would if you were able to go to

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mit on campus and you would take five college 
classes as if you’re like a college student

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even though we’re um during this time period that 
they allow people to be accepted you have to be

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an incoming senior so it’s obviously um going to 
help you transfer or it helps you transfer into a

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college application season and also helps you with 
your career-wise and to like what to expect in

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college and it’s for like minority students with 
high academic backgrounds it’s a highly selective

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program um it’s really cool though so you get to 
go over there you take five classes and throughout

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that you get to meet a lot of amazing influential 
people i remember we’d have lectures well not

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lectures but after classes we’d have um speakers 
that we’d attend and there were people from like

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twitter from google it was like some physicists 
um our tas were just as um amazing because they

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would have internship work with like nobel prize 
winners and they talk about them they were from

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like colleges of all over i remember most of 
them were from like mit or stamford it was just

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a lot of brilliant people in one room really like 
down to earth just wanting to help you like pursue

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what you want in stem and trying to get you into 
the field of stem and make it a little bit less

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intimidating especially for minorities because it 
is very hard for us to get into that career path

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um but yeah um and it also gets you it allows 
you to build a community in a sense and it helps

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you network i just know that it’s really just 
meant to help you with like everything that

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you’re usually clueless about with resumes um 
fly-ins colleges how to choose your college

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college applications what major you want to be 
in what to expect internships all that fun stuff

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we were given the opportunity to choose 
an extracurricular class and you would be

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given different ranges there would be like 
electronics and there was machine learning

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and there was robotics you would be put into one 
if you wanted to explore through it or and like

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when you were in that class you’re just like wow 
like i can’t believe i just did this like you

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would make a speaker or you would make a robot 
autonomously move from like side to side it was

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just like absolutely insane i would say really 
fortified me becoming an engineer and we’d also

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have the opportunity to look at other 
career paths or like design labs or research

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facilities and be able to go in and see what they 
would do on a daily basis it was just absolutely

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the same the opportunities were given since 
it was a like highly selective program it was

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there only a small group of people got 
accepted into it and i think that’s what made

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having a community amongst 
these people even better

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there was 80 but it was still within a six week 
period of span you were able to talk to each

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and every one of them and have some sort of like 
friendship form but honestly it was a lot of fun

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um you were given a lot of opportunity to venture 
out with these friends that you would make and

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like explore boston if you wanted to you were able 
to like have the freedom to go wherever you wanted

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as long as you told your chaperone of course 
you can’t just like go off into another city

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um i thought that was really cool so like social 
life easy that was like the easiest part everyone

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didn’t want to do school work they just wanted 
to socialize outside of their dorms all the time

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the dorm was really nice uh it was really 
randomized when it came to whether you would

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have a roommate or not i didn’t have a roommate 
but others would have like three roommates or two

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roommates or just one roommate it just really 
depended on like which dorm you were put in um

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dorms were nice there was a curfew did we follow 
it no but it’s okay uh the food we were given an

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80 little food card and it would replenish every 
week and you could use it at any restaurant around

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mit or you can use it at the dining hall a lot of 
people would eat at the dining hall the dino hall

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food was really good in my opinion it was like 
chicken tenders and like macaroni and i it was

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happened to me and they would even have like a 
little ice cream bar and i thought that was cool

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um so the food the social life the dining was 
pretty great and we would also have like family

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meetings once a week where um it was just 
like all 80 of us and we’d like be in like

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a room and we just like talked to each other or 
we’d also have like break from tutoring because

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i i don’t know what they’re called 
like breakouts like once a week where

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you had to like put all your books down 
and like not study anymore and just like

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be around with each other and sit with each other 
and once a week we would have a social activity

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whether it would be like going to the beach or 
having like a scavenger hunt or having like a

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barbecue for the fourth of july it was really 
cool i think social life there was pretty fun

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definitely overwhelming compared to high school 
courses but maybe that was just for my high school

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because i know other kids were doing just fine 
with the workload but it was definitely hard

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you would have to put a lot of time into what 
you’re studying i would say the best parts were

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the weekly social activities because you know you 
didn’t have to do schoolwork and you’re just like

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having fun with a bunch of friends i would say 
that was definitely one of the greatest parts

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it’s the worst part i wouldn’t say this is the 
worst part it’s just more of a learning curve

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being able to take the workload that they give 
you and um actually time manage and be able to

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efficiently like get everything done because 
we weren’t given a lot of time in the day

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we’d be gone at like nine in the morning and we 
wouldn’t be back in our dorms until like six pm

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and even then we would have office 
hours that we needed to attend and then

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truly we would only have time to do 
homework starting at like midnight

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and also depending on how far you lived from mit 
i guess the distance from home i did get a little

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homesick so i would just say not necessarily the 
worst part but something to get used to we were

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connected to mission offices they would give us 
um once a week lectures about what to expect with

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the college applications they would talk about the 
common app not only the mit app you’re also given

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access to the mit financial aid advisors and 
they would help you with like the whole financial

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process of mit and other colleges um a lot of 
our tas were from mit and other nice colleges

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so i would say that also counts and the 
professors that we were given were also in

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the community of mit some of them were actually 
professors there some of them did their graduate

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there and they decided to study over the summer so 
i do say we did connect a lot with the community

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over there and either way it was over the 
summer and i’m pretty sure some students

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were taking summer classes and so at the rec 
there would probably be like actual mit students

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it was free so i guess it was worth 
the cost it was absolutely free

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dining food everything paid for the 
only thing that you had to pay for

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was the transportation to boston and 
back but even then i found sponsors

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in the application you’re given like um a 
psat option to put in your score sat option

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don’t worry about your scores i don’t think 
that’s what they’re necessarily looking for

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in the end they don’t want like the smartest 
because they just want to be able to bring

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opportunities to the kids that i think need the 
most that have high academic backgrounds so your

0:08:58.560,0:09:05.440
score your test score isn’t everything so don’t 
be so panicked about it i do say that the essays

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are very important especially since it’s 
very limited in words so every word should

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be impactful and truthful to who you are as 
a person don’t pretend to be anything else

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because i feel like they know they will know 
if you’re bluffing or trying to be like oh

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i won a nobel peace prize when i was like five 
you know like that’s a way extreme example of

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it but just be truthful to yourself be honest 
with them as long as they can see that you’re

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passionate about it and you’re willing to work 
hard you have a good chance of getting them

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you

Management and Technology Summer Institute (M&TSI)

Management and Technology Summer Institute (M&TSI)

Transcript

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my name is molly i’m a senior in pennsylvania

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i did m&tsi the summer after my junior year 
and that was virtual so it wasn’t like the

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real experience um which was unfortunate because 
like i wanted to live at penn for three weeks

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but it was virtual which meant we were like on 
we had classes from like 10 a.m est to like 4 p.m

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est which is like a long time on your computer 
um and we had a lot of homework we had like

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four hours of homework every night like 75 pages 
of reading because it’s like a college credit

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in like three weeks so it’s like a semester 
class in three weeks which is like a lot

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but it was really really cool um they had like 
two penn professors professor babin from warden

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and professor delhi walla from engineering 
they were there and they like taught we had

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like engineering lessons in the morning and then 
they just gave us like arduinos to use um and then

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in the afternoon we had like entrepreneurship 
lessons from um professor babin and then we like

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we would do like social stuff at night like over 
zoom to try to like bond with each other the whole

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time we were working on like a final project which 
is like a really intensive like you basically

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created like a prod a product and like like have 
a business plan and everything and then um they

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also brought in all these like professors or like 
alums from m t or to come speak with you and then

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you had like a ta who’s like a current m&t 
student so there’s like a ton of support and

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just everyone’s like happy to answer questions 
so that was really good experience i just wish

0:01:57.440,0:02:03.440
best was um just like getting access to all these 
professors and like they would answer any of your

0:02:03.440,0:02:07.680
questions and they would like give you like you 
would say every day after class professor babin

0:02:07.680,0:02:11.200
would like stay on for like an hour and you could 
talk about like whatever you want to talk about

0:02:11.200,0:02:15.760
like whatever questions you had which is really 
cool because like he’s a professional in like

0:02:15.760,0:02:20.800
the business world and he knows so much um and 
just everyone was so nice like the tas were so

0:02:20.800,0:02:25.520
helpful and like my ta texted me when i got 
into m&t and he was like congratulations and

0:02:25.520,0:02:30.160
he like walked me around penn a few weeks ago 
so just like the people there was really great

0:02:35.360,0:02:39.760
the worst part of mpsi was definitely like the 
homework there’s a lot of homework it’d be like

0:02:39.760,0:02:45.360
75 pages of reading at night which is like way 
too much for the summer um and also just like

0:02:45.360,0:02:49.840
being virtual but that was just like this 
year so that’s not like for the future

0:02:53.600,0:02:57.920
i mean the big thing with m&tsi i was just like 
being virtual and i was just not expecting i mean

0:02:57.920,0:03:03.600
we found out about that i think like when i got in 
and like i forget it was like march or something

0:03:03.600,0:03:06.880
it’s like i knew it was going to 
be virtual but like i didn’t know

0:03:06.880,0:03:10.640
that like we wouldn’t get to do like 
the same engineering labs that like

0:03:10.640,0:03:13.680
they normally get to do because like 
obviously we didn’t have access to the

0:03:13.680,0:03:17.840
resources and then i didn’t know it 
was going to be as much work as it was

0:03:18.560,0:03:24.000
but i mean it makes sense like looking back given 
that it’s like a college class in three weeks

0:03:29.360,0:03:36.560
and for my project um my group and i our 
company was called notify um and we created

0:03:36.560,0:03:41.920
a smart availability light for work from 
home professionals so basically like

0:03:41.920,0:03:45.200
you stick it to the door like your home 
office or whatever room you’re working in

0:03:45.200,0:03:49.840
and it like syncs with your calendar or like 
your zoom or whatever and it like would light

0:03:49.840,0:03:54.000
up if you’re busy you’re like in a meeting so 
like if your kids know not to interrupt you

0:03:54.800,0:04:00.000
and we like had a working prototype which was 
pretty cool um it was just i didn’t build it

0:04:00.000,0:04:04.480
someone else built it because like we weren’t all 
together which was definitely hard but it was cool

0:04:09.840,0:04:17.440
i know m tsi is like fairly selective um and i 
found that because i wanted to go to m t and i

0:04:17.440,0:04:23.600
also know that like kids who do it have a higher 
chance of getting into m&t that application was

0:04:23.600,0:04:30.880
like pretty intense it was like an essay and like 
a video pick good teachers to write your racks um

0:04:30.880,0:04:35.120
i had my computer science teacher i think my 
english teacher to kind of cover the like tech

0:04:35.120,0:04:40.720
and business and then i think just be creative 
with your video there was a day where the tas at

0:04:40.720,0:04:46.320
the end like roasted all the kids like they found 
all their all of our videos and like roasted us

0:04:46.320,0:04:51.680
and they played them in front of everyone and some 
people like people are really creative with their

0:04:51.680,0:04:55.680
videos which i think is like that would be what 
i recommend like i didn’t want to sit in front of

0:04:55.680,0:05:00.240
the camera and just say like hi my name is molly 
and i just like list all like my extracurriculars

0:05:00.240,0:05:04.800
so i like what i did is i had my computer 
science teacher i like staged an interview

0:05:04.800,0:05:08.800
between him like where he was interviewing 
me but like obviously it was like scripted

0:05:08.800,0:05:14.480
but i think just like there was a kid who’s like 
playing a saxophone in his video and there was a

0:05:14.480,0:05:19.840
kid who did his whole videos like a rap like i 
think it’s that help because like the i i’m not

0:05:19.840,0:05:23.520
an admissions officer like they have to watch so 
many of those videos and like it’s only a minute

0:05:23.520,0:05:27.920
and 30 seconds and you want to try to get as much 
of your character through the video as possible

0:05:27.920,0:05:32.240
like they’re already seeing like other stuff 
about you through your essay so i think just like

0:05:33.120,0:05:37.840
feel free to be creative with your video 
because that’s like how you stand out

0:05:42.400,0:05:46.480
my experience was unique because of virtual 
um and like i think i i don’t remember if

0:05:46.480,0:05:50.640
they they made it any cheaper because it 
was virtual i think it was cheaper because

0:05:50.640,0:05:56.640
we didn’t pay for like food or housing or 
anything but it was very expensive for me

0:05:57.280,0:06:01.280
like the outcome was like worth it just because 
it was like a college course and it was learning

0:06:01.280,0:06:05.760
all this information and then also it would 
like give me a little bit of a boost for

0:06:05.760,0:06:19.840
like my college application so i think 
it’s like a situational kind of thing

0:06:22.880,0:06:23.380
you

Summer Science Program (SSP)

Summer Science Program (SSP)

Transcript

0:00:10.000,0:00:17.120
my name is william pereiro i attended the summer 
science program they have like two campuses i

0:00:17.120,0:00:24.160
was part of the astrophysics campus and that 
was like almost a year ago last june to july

0:00:24.800,0:00:37.680
and it was virtual ssp was kind of like a really 
big highlight of my um year last year so um

0:00:37.680,0:00:44.640
normally it would be done in person so um i would 
have traveled to my campus was new mexico tech so

0:00:44.640,0:00:50.720
i would have traveled to new mexico tech for like 
six weeks and like operated a telescope um there

0:00:50.720,0:00:56.960
and kind of done research on like calculating 
the orbit like a near-earth asteroid um using

0:00:56.960,0:01:02.720
like um physics computer science like math tools 
um but because of like the change of plans and

0:01:02.720,0:01:09.760
like um the pandemic and everything um it was all 
online so we kind of did the same things i guess

0:01:09.760,0:01:17.280
um just like on zoom so i would still put 
in a research team of three people um and we

0:01:17.280,0:01:25.360
kind of worked together to um use computer science 
techniques to make a program that was able to like

0:01:25.360,0:01:31.360
calculate the trajectory of a near-earth asteroid 
um and then we worked in like a flow group like

0:01:31.360,0:01:37.440
our entire campus um was just like learning 
concepts we learned new physics astrophysics

0:01:37.440,0:01:43.200
concepts we learned um new math concepts that 
i have that i hadn’t seen before the program

0:01:43.200,0:01:48.160
um and i even learned python so it was a 
lot of it was a kind of a balance between

0:01:48.160,0:01:54.240
like learning and research it was a really good 
balance because i felt prepared to do the actual

0:01:54.240,0:01:59.920
research with like the learning support that we 
received um it was kind of split up into two um

0:02:01.040,0:02:07.360
two categories so like in the morning we would 
work on problem sets uh we would be learning new

0:02:08.480,0:02:12.960
new science or math concepts and then at night 
we would be like working on research or working

0:02:12.960,0:02:20.240
on problem sets so it was a really fun experience 
overall because of the experience i was able to

0:02:21.680,0:02:28.640
publish um data my group was able to publish data 
and with to the international astronomical union

0:02:29.200,0:02:33.120
um at the harvard smithsonian center so 
that was also a really cool opportunity

0:02:33.760,0:02:40.480
and um yeah it was a lot of research 
um a lot of learning new concepts

0:02:40.480,0:02:49.840
and stuff it was pretty challenging because of 
the collaboration i think it was really rewarding

0:02:51.120,0:02:56.880
it was definitely extremely academically 
challenging i was unfamiliar with most of the

0:02:56.880,0:03:04.400
topics that we learned there when i got there 
um but the support system is really good um i

0:03:04.400,0:03:10.080
kind of caught on to some concepts but um they 
do emphasize that even if like when you leave

0:03:10.080,0:03:16.000
the program you’re not going to be like a hundred 
percent like sure of every single concept or 100

0:03:16.000,0:03:21.840
remember every concept but a lot of the people who 
are alumni of the program say that when they do

0:03:21.840,0:03:27.840
get reintroduced to the concepts like years later 
in college um they can pick it up easily and it’s

0:03:27.840,0:03:34.560
because of like ssp and so i would say it is 
very academically challenging and you should

0:03:34.560,0:03:39.920
um prepare yourself for that but don’t be 
discouraged if you come in and you’re not um

0:03:39.920,0:03:45.840
like familiar with like a lot of the concepts 
that they teach because nobody usually is

0:03:50.720,0:03:57.120
yeah so there were a lot of opportunities to 
connect both um both formally and informally

0:03:57.120,0:04:03.120
so formally we had like workplace blocks where we 
would collaborate with um our teams and like break

0:04:03.120,0:04:07.280
out rooms and then we would also like collaborate 
with people in other groups um just like working

0:04:07.280,0:04:15.120
on problem sets together or um just working and 
working on our projects i like as individual teams

0:04:15.120,0:04:20.000
um i think it was like it was super fun we would 
like do that like every night the blocks where

0:04:20.000,0:04:24.480
we like did that kind of stuff was like four 
hours long and so it would be arranged by ssb

0:04:24.480,0:04:29.760
and then we would work on stuff together um and 
it was extremely fun we had tas who would like

0:04:29.760,0:04:34.560
encourage like activities we had like a talent 
show and stuff on weekends so it was a fun social

0:04:34.560,0:04:40.400
experience um that ssp organized but there was 
also like the aspect of like a social experience

0:04:40.400,0:04:46.880
outside of what the program had or organized we 
had we have a discord server which has like 200

0:04:46.880,0:04:53.840
members and it’s still active now like it’s it’s 
extremely active and a lot of people like talk

0:04:53.840,0:05:00.080
on that every once in a while and just catch 
up with people i’m still um close friends with

0:05:00.080,0:05:05.680
my research teammates um we still talk every 
day and so there’s like a lot of opportunities

0:05:05.680,0:05:11.600
um just socially to like connect with each 
other and like talk to your fellow ss peers

0:05:17.440,0:05:24.000
i’m not 100 sure if there is like a causation 
like going to ssp gearing i don’t think like

0:05:24.000,0:05:29.200
going to ssp guarantees that you will get into a 
good college but i will say that there is a lot of

0:05:29.200,0:05:35.840
correlation because a lot of people who do go to 
ssp are just extremely passionate about what they

0:05:35.840,0:05:42.720
do and they just like have a like perseverance and 
all that stuff they’re really talented and so a

0:05:42.720,0:05:48.880
lot of them do end up like at really good colleges 
i know a lot of um popular college destinations

0:05:48.880,0:05:57.040
for people who go to ssp are usually like techy 
schools like mit or stanford but also like more

0:05:57.040,0:06:02.800
humanities based schools which is something that 
i was like into so like um yale and harvard um

0:06:02.800,0:06:08.320
but yeah there are just a lot of opportunities um 
to like get acquainted with colleges i think we

0:06:08.320,0:06:16.240
had admissions officers from caltech and mit and 
harvey mudd um come to the program just to like um

0:06:16.960,0:06:21.600
speak about like their respective schools and 
see if anyone was interested in like applying

0:06:21.600,0:06:27.600
and answering their questions um after the 
program we’re connected with ssp alumni

0:06:27.600,0:06:34.080
so ssp was started i think in 1959 so like 
a long time ago and so they have like a very

0:06:34.080,0:06:40.880
large network of like alumni who like um a lot of 
them are maybe professors or even like go to like

0:06:40.880,0:06:47.840
a lot of colleges that people do want to go 
to and so it’s very easy to connect with them

0:06:50.080,0:06:56.800
there’s also a program that um for my year it was 
like the test program so it was like the first

0:06:56.800,0:07:02.800
time they did this program but it’s called the 
ssp connect program and the ssp connect program

0:07:02.800,0:07:10.960
basically connects um the ssp after they finish 
the program to um young alumni so people who have

0:07:10.960,0:07:17.120
been out of the program for maybe like one to 
two to three years or even up to like 10 years

0:07:17.920,0:07:22.080
who have like the same interests as 
them who have the same like career um

0:07:22.800,0:07:27.280
choices that they want to follow who have like 
the same college choices who they want to follow

0:07:27.280,0:07:34.880
so that i think was um a really really really 
important um part of like ssp like afterward

0:07:34.880,0:07:41.440
um like after the program was done um i put in 
my um in my um there’s like a google form that

0:07:41.440,0:07:46.800
you fill out and then you would just like put um 
what what kind of mentor you want um so i put in

0:07:46.800,0:07:52.400
my mentor sheet that i wanted that i wanted to 
go to yale and that i was interested in like

0:07:52.400,0:07:59.200
pursuing stem and like art in at yale um 
like humanities and so i was paired up with

0:07:59.200,0:08:05.520
um my mentor my ssp mentor who was a year 
older than me who actually went to yale and

0:08:05.520,0:08:09.600
um she helped me with like the college 
admissions process she helped me like

0:08:09.600,0:08:15.920
um with college advice with my essays um with 
all of that stuff and because of that i think

0:08:15.920,0:08:22.080
i was um a lot more prepared to apply to yale than 
i would have been otherwise so it’s a lot of like

0:08:22.080,0:08:27.840
a lot of support like during the program and 
also a lot of support after the program is over

0:08:32.880,0:08:39.200
i didn’t actually apply to any other um summer 
like science programs in retrospect that was

0:08:39.200,0:08:46.960
probably a mistake um but i chose to apply 
to ssp over some other programs because of

0:08:47.680,0:08:53.920
like academic factors so um one thing was that a 
lot of other programs kind of focus on independent

0:08:53.920,0:09:00.320
research and i had done independent research for 
like science fair before and so it wasn’t exactly

0:09:00.320,0:09:05.360
something that was like new to me i kind of wanted 
more of a challenge and i felt that i needed a

0:09:05.360,0:09:11.680
little bit more like academic background in order 
to like obtain a challenge and so ssp didn’t only

0:09:11.680,0:09:17.760
like give the opportunity to do research but 
it also gave like the opportunity to like learn

0:09:17.760,0:09:23.920
a lot more than i would have if i just like read 
research papers individually um and then the

0:09:23.920,0:09:29.120
aspect of collaboration as well like that support 
system was very appealing to me you can’t really

0:09:29.120,0:09:36.080
find that in other summer programs um and then the 
other factor was financial cost so i know there

0:09:36.080,0:09:42.880
are like a lot there are honestly a lot of summer 
programs that exist um but a lot of them at least

0:09:42.880,0:09:48.880
have um financial barriers so they cost like a 
lot of money um it’s just very hard to like apply

0:09:49.440,0:09:56.000
without even like an application fee so when i 
applied to ssp i don’t think i had to um i don’t

0:09:56.000,0:10:00.080
think there was like an application fee which 
was like the first plus for me and the second

0:10:00.080,0:10:06.960
plus was that they had need-based financial aid so 
they had alumni who um or they’re i think they’re

0:10:06.960,0:10:12.160
completely funded by alumni donations so they they 
raise like an incredible amount of money every

0:10:12.160,0:10:19.360
year um but because of like those alumni donations 
i was able to attend for free and a lot of people

0:10:19.360,0:10:24.960
in the program are able to attend for free or 
for a reduced price so they’re very forgiving

0:10:24.960,0:10:30.560
when it comes to like financial aid and um i 
encourage anyone to like who wants to apply

0:10:30.560,0:10:36.400
or anyone who’s like considering financial 
factors to definitely take a shot and like apply

0:10:42.160,0:10:49.840
the best part might be just um how like how 
it like affected me like personally um with

0:10:49.840,0:10:56.720
regard to like my confidence like academically 
um i i learned a lot of things in the program

0:10:56.720,0:11:02.000
um like chief among them was probably the 
fact that science is not something you’re

0:11:02.000,0:11:08.240
just supposed to get uh like during high school 
i didn’t go to magnet um school so i didn’t have

0:11:08.240,0:11:15.200
like that much of a scientific background um 
and so when i did like do science or when i

0:11:15.200,0:11:21.040
just did like academics in general i would just 
like rank myself based on like how well or how

0:11:21.040,0:11:25.200
easily i could like understand the subject and 
if i couldn’t understand the subject very well

0:11:25.200,0:11:30.800
i just assumed that i wouldn’t be good at it and 
so kind ssp kind of changed my perspective on that

0:11:30.800,0:11:37.840
um it kind of inspired me to um not just like 
look at something realize it’s very confusing and

0:11:37.840,0:11:43.520
it would probably take me a long time to do and 
then just assume i’m not good at it um it really

0:11:43.520,0:11:50.560
really pushed me to kind of um just keep on like 
attacking a problem until i understood it and

0:11:51.200,0:11:56.400
understanding that like when scientists like do 
research or when they try to understand like new

0:11:56.400,0:12:02.080
concepts they aren’t really like understanding 
things at first it’s very hard to like understand

0:12:02.080,0:12:07.040
concepts but when you like spend a lot of 
time working on something it’s more about

0:12:07.040,0:12:10.080
like your passion for it and like 
how determined you are to like

0:12:10.080,0:12:14.160
understand different concepts and different 
fields of science that actually makes you a

0:12:14.160,0:12:18.880
good scientist and makes you a good fit for 
science so that’s what i kind of learned um

0:12:18.880,0:12:23.840
during the program that really like sparked my 
confidence um in pursuing something in science

0:12:29.600,0:12:32.800
i don’t really think there 
was like any bad part of

0:12:32.800,0:12:39.840
the summer science program i would say it does 
get a little bit stressful at times because um

0:12:39.840,0:12:44.880
there’s just a lot of work um it’s it’s a very 
fast-paced program it’s very academically rigorous

0:12:45.440,0:12:50.720
there were a lot of like nights where i would 
sleep like three to four hours um just working on

0:12:50.720,0:12:58.720
problems that’s really doing work but i think it’s 
still like 100 even though it’s like very hard um

0:12:58.720,0:13:03.840
very difficult a lot of sleepless nights it is 
a very fun opportunity i remember like the night

0:13:03.840,0:13:09.200
before the program ended was when we had to like 
turn in our research papers and i think i stayed

0:13:09.200,0:13:17.120
up with my group and like a bunch of other um ss 
peers until like five to six am working on writing

0:13:17.120,0:13:23.520
a research project just to submit it and so i 
think like that kind of like community support

0:13:23.520,0:13:28.960
really um made it a lot better and um really 
taught me that even though like it’s academically

0:13:28.960,0:13:33.280
rigorous and like no matter how difficult things 
can be if you have like a community of support

0:13:33.280,0:13:38.480
around you that’s like a very important thing and 
i think that’s definitely something that i’ve um

0:13:39.440,0:13:45.680
kind of emphasized with like a lot of my future 
life decisions um so like when i applied to yale

0:13:45.680,0:13:50.240
for example one of the reasons i was looking 
at yellow was because of like that same

0:13:50.240,0:13:56.800
strong community of support that i got at ssp and 
so i think ssb just overall changed my world view

0:13:56.800,0:14:01.840
on like what it means to be like what it means 
for something to be difficult or challenging

0:14:06.320,0:14:12.640
so um we didn’t get like our paper published we 
got our data published um in the like minor planet

0:14:12.640,0:14:18.400
center uh report or i forgot what it was called 
but um yeah that’s something that everyone at

0:14:18.400,0:14:25.840
ssp gets um like published like um they’re just 
work um based on like the research they’ve done

0:14:25.840,0:14:33.680
um they will um ssp will send the data to the 
international astronomical union and then they

0:14:33.680,0:14:38.640
will look at it and make sure that it’s like 
pretty much accurate um but then they will

0:14:38.640,0:14:46.000
like publish the data into their um journal or not 
journal but report or minor planet center report

0:14:46.000,0:14:52.960
um so technically there’s no guarantee 
that you would get your data published

0:14:52.960,0:14:58.000
but i’m pretty confident that anyone who does 
like ssp will eventually get their data published

0:14:58.000,0:15:03.680
and this is for the astrophysics on campus i’m 
not 100 sure how it works with biochemistry

0:15:08.800,0:15:13.200
obviously the fact that every like 
advertisement that i saw online was

0:15:13.200,0:15:18.720
them like actually being on 
campus um it was not or it was

0:15:20.560,0:15:26.880
not exactly what i had pictured because of 
like that whole virtual aspect but obviously

0:15:26.880,0:15:31.680
we couldn’t have like actually done it in person 
and with the like the resources we had at the time

0:15:32.400,0:15:39.600
and the fact that they made it very flexible for 
ssp students to kind of like get into that a whole

0:15:39.600,0:15:47.360
ssp on campus mindset um it was definitely worth 
it um i think just the fact that we were able to

0:15:47.360,0:15:53.120
like download all of the like astronomy software 
onto our computer and then um like all the coding

0:15:53.120,0:15:57.840
software i feel like that kind of maybe even 
helped us a lot more than we would have done like

0:15:57.840,0:16:07.360
on campus i i do think that it was um a very it 
it was very much kind of similar to the way it

0:16:07.360,0:16:13.920
would have operated um on campus like obviously 
i was not there so i don’t know how they did it

0:16:13.920,0:16:21.840
but based on like the advertisements 
i saw i feel like it was very similar

0:16:23.280,0:16:31.440
advice i would have for someone who is 
applying to ssp is to not worry too much

0:16:31.440,0:16:38.080
about stats so i know when i applied i didn’t 
even have like an sat score and it completely

0:16:38.080,0:16:45.440
stressed me out um but i feel like just from my 
application what i really pulled through was kind

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of the idea that um i really love science and that 
i really loved using science um like as a tool to

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help other people and i feel like both of those 
concepts were really apparent in my application

0:16:58.480,0:17:05.600
so i wouldn’t worry too much on aspects that you 
cannot control um like your stats or anything

0:17:05.600,0:17:11.920
i would say do as much as you can to show that 
you’re interested in like science like um i took a

0:17:11.920,0:17:18.800
radio astronomy class just for fun with my physics 
teacher and because of that it convinced me to

0:17:18.800,0:17:22.880
take astrophysics into the biochemistry because i 
didn’t know which one of the two i wanted to take

0:17:23.440,0:17:27.840
and then in my essays like really elaborated 
on how much like i love science and like for

0:17:27.840,0:17:33.920
one of the supplement questions i talked about 
like um this volunteer initiative that i did

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um where i was like teaching young 
kids stem and so i was just like um

0:17:39.120,0:17:43.520
really talking about how much like i love science 
and how i really wanted to like do something good

0:17:43.520,0:17:49.360
with science and i feel like that’s shown through 
my application so focus on um the things that you

0:17:49.360,0:17:55.200
can’t control like um just like your essays 
and like what classes you decide to take even

0:17:55.200,0:18:01.040
and then um leave everything else alone don’t 
stress don’t stress about your sats or don’t

0:18:01.040,0:18:07.760
stress about your gpa or anything just focus on 
what like your passion is about um like what in

0:18:07.760,0:18:13.840
science you want to like pursue and what you want 
to like give to the world or to the community

Tufts Summer Research Experience

Tufts Summer Research Experience

Transcript

0:00:09.840,0:00:12.960
i’m allison harton i’m from milburn new jersey

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i’m a senior this year and then so i did it’s 
called tufts summer research experience and i

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did it the summer after my sophomore 
year so i guess two summers ago now

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i found that program because i really wanted to 
do something that like involved research like

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science research um and like really hadn’t done 
anything like that before so i wanted like kind

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of a structured program to go with it um but this 
one was like a very kind of free program and that

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like it was sort of what you made of it um and 
so you applied to the programmer and were matched

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like specifically with the tufts lab um and then i 
was actually the meyer the year i did the program

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was the first year of the program so it was kind 
of like just starting out um but so i was matched

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with a lab and a graduate student that i worked 
with and i was actually the only high school

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student in the lab there were like maybe 10 or 20 
like somewhere between 10 and 20 different labs

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that people in the program were placed in um and 
it was really just like it was a six week program

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five days a week we went into the lab and worked 
with the gra i worked with the grad student um

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and then kind of at the end of the program it 
was like culminated in like this poster session

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that you know almost everyone in the program kind 
of had a project that they worked on like start to

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finish and so we all at the end like presented 
the different research projects that we did

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the food at tufts was good um it was like one 
dining test i think has maybe two or three

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different dining halls it was just one that was 
open to us um but it was you know totally fine

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um they were open for like three meals a day 
and it was pretty good food um and then in

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terms of the social part of it um so my program 
itself was pretty small i think it was like

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25 to 30 of us but tufts has a lot of like 
pre-college programs um and we were kind

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of all staying in dorms together so 
there was a large group of people to

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um kind of do things with and they did 
a really good job of just like having

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different activities every night um especially 
at the beginning when like we didn’t know anyone

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um and it was you know very relaxed and that like 
if you wanted to come to these like the organized

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things you could but you definitely didn’t 
have to um and like the way they organized it

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um we kind of within like the dorm that we 
stayed in each floor was like a group of

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i think it was like eight of us um and we were 
kind of like our ra group for the whole program um

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so like socially it was a lot of fun just because 
like we did a lot with that group in particular

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that like closer group um but then there was also 
like lots of opportunities to kind of meet people

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and do um do other things with kind of a larger 
group of people in different programs there

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the best part from me was like i found this 
program because i wanted to do research over the

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summer and like i definitely felt like i did that 
it was really cool because i was pretty much for

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six weeks working directly with like she was a phd 
student in the lab and i was like you know by the

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end i had this project that i was able to say like 
i had worked on and like a poster that i had my

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name on and everything like that which was really 
really cool um and not necessarily something i

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realized when i was researching the program that 
like it would be so kind of individual like that

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worst part of the program i guess was like we 
did have every afternoon we had to go to like

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these seminar type sessions where it was like 
they went through things like how to do you

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know or like how to use um like databases 
or like citing sources or things like that

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which like you know none of us really had wanted 
that out of the program it was kind of we all did

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it to do research and like there were a lot of 
days where i would would have much rather like

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stay an extra hour or two in the lab but instead 
i had to go back to go to the seminar class

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that wasn’t exactly communicated test beforehand 
um again though i know that you know my year

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was the first year they did it and i know they 
got a lot of complaints about those classes so

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it’s possible it’s changed a little bit since um 
since then just because they were kind of working

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everything out um so that was just kind of a 
little bit of a disappointment just because i

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you know that wasn’t really what i wanted out 
of it but it definitely wasn’t like such a big

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deal that i would advise anyone not to do 
it because of that or anything like that

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i think a couple of things like one thing was it 
was a six week program um which a lot of them were

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not that long and i kind of liked the idea that 
it was like you really could see a project from

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start to finish instead of like just coming 
in for a week or two here or there um i also

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i mean this was more in terms of just like 
kind of social like fun summer stuff to do

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um but i really like like tufts is right very 
close to boston um which is really nice because

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like a lot of weekends you know we take the subway 
into boston and like be able to spend the day

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there um which like i’d say especially over the 
summer when like you’re looking at least i was

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looking for like something fun to do also that was 
really nice um to kind of have that as an option

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um and i mean i also what i really liked about 
this program and was sort of unique in that like

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as i was researching i didn’t see a ton that were 
like this was that like so i was the only high

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school student in the lab which meant that like i 
pretty much got whatever attention i needed like

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it wasn’t that they were like splitting you know 
between 10 or 12 different high school students

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who were all trying to learn like different 
techniques and everything like that it was

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kind of whatever i needed you know they were there 
to help me and i was there to help them in any way

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um and i just thought it was a really cool kind 
of way to first of all get like an individual

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relationship with like these different professors 
and grad students um and also just kind of i

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thought i was able to get a lot more out of this 
program because it was like really just me in the

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lab than i would have if like again there were 
you know um it was like a more kind of structured

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thing with like 10 or 12 or however many different 
high school students would have been in the lab

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it definitely was an expensive program but for me 
i do think it was um and i think largely because

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so after you know i did that organized program 
and then since then i’ve been able to like reach

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out to different professors at like there’s a 
um there’s one i’m actually working with now at

0:07:16.960,0:07:22.320
dartmouth who like when i emailed him i said you 
know i have all this experience from that summer

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um so like you don’t need to train me in all the 
basic like the lab basics so i really could just

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like come in and help you with whatever you need 
which i think was really nice and it made it much

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more likely that like someone like him would 
be willing to say yes to me doing work for him

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because i kind of had that background um so i 
mean it definitely was expensive but i kind of

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think going forward like having that foundation 
and those skills will definitely be worth it

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for me i think a big thing was um i i think i 
started looking into programs like maybe even

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in october like sometime in the early fall um so i 
kind of had an idea of like what i wanted to apply

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to even before a lot of these applications opened 
um which i think for me was really helpful because

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like i pretty much as soon as the application was 
open i had my application ready to go and send it

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in um and i think because i sent it in so early 
i was really able to get like once i was accepted

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i was able to get kind of first pick of the lab 
that i wanted just because they hadn’t filled up

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any other spots like that um and like i know i 
had a couple friends there who you know actually

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had wanted to be working in my lab but because 
they applied later they were offered you know

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another lab that was less interesting to them that 
like you know they still ended up enjoying but

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it wasn’t exactly what they wanted um so i 
would say just like my big advice would be

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get the application in as soon as you possibly can 
um just because like the spots do fill up and like

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you know it doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t 
be accepted um but you’ll have kind of a much

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wider range of choices of like where you actually 
end up which lab you actually end up in which is

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definitely a huge part of the program um 
because a lot of it is so like individual and

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dependent on the professor the graduate student 
you’re assigned to i do think i definitely got

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lucky with the lab i was placed in um i had 
some friends there who like you know their

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professors weren’t as kind of willing to work 
with them or like they got a grad student who was

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not really in the middle of such an exciting 
project or any or something like that

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i mean other than that it was a fairly 
straightforward application process you

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know there’s like one or two essays that you have 
to write but nothing that’s such a big deal um

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but yeah i’d say definitely my big 
advice would be to get it in early

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you