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Diya Mukherjee

Diya was a student looking to gain meaningful research experience as a beginner. Here, she recounts how the SSRP helped her achieve her research goals!

Diya is a high school senior from San Jose, California, who had the chance to participate in the SSRP in 2023! Here, she recounts the other aspects of SSRP that helped shape her scientific interests.

What were you hoping to gain from the SSRP program?

“Although I have been interested in biology for a long time, I had never had an in-person lab experience before.”

SSRP, specifically, offered me a way to explore wet lab work, while engaging in the more interdisciplinary parts of the program, like the bioinformatics and medical anthropology courses

How has your participation in the program impacted your interest in science/research?

“The SSRP program gave me rare clarity about my future research aspirations. As I enter college, I know that I want to dive deeper into stem cell research, using computational tools in order to understand the cell development process.”

How did the SSRP impact your personal growth?

“I think SSRP gave me a lot of confidence in myself. In research, (and in life generally), the first step can be the hardest part. But because I had incredibly supportive mentors throughout the program, who both answered all my questions – stupid or not – and gave me the freedom to personalize my experience, I was able conquer my ‘starting fears’ in research. It made me more confident and capable as a person.”

What advice would you give to incoming SSRP students to help them make the most of their time?

“Don’t limit yourself to just the research! One of the best parts of SSRP is the additional activities and resources that encourage you to engage with biology from multiple perspectives. Interact with people outside of your track and be willing to enjoy learning about things that are completely unrelated to your subject of interest.”

Diya working on her project in the tissue culture room.

Favorite Memory from SSRP?

“My favorite memory was definitely the first time that our track went through our daily lab procedure completely on our own, without the help of our mentors. I’m pretty sure it was morning, and I remember someone was playing music on the speakers, while a group of us were exploring our lab while waiting for our samples in the centrifuge. It was just one of the moments where I stopped and realized how, not even halfway through the program, we had learned so much.”

Diya was a part of the stem-cell track; her project focused on how keratinocytes with squamous cell carcinoma responds to different inflammatory cytokines. 

Hao L
Bharat E
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