“Being a Scholar helped me get into a top-tier graduate school in biophysics and to be awarded an NSF GRFP
As a freshman, I thought I had my future planned out – med school. I only joined a biochemistry lab so that I would have a more compelling application. Within a year though, I was presenting at a national scientific conference and it no longer felt as if my plans matched my passions.
Working in a lab was exciting and exhilarating. Every triumph led us closer to understanding. Even the failures were intriguing as they helped direct and refine the way we approached the scientific problem. Research felt like a never-ending jigsaw puzzle (and I love puzzles so that was a perk) where I got to ask my own questions and help find original answers. Medical school was looking more and more like a not so-perfect fit for me.
Then came intro physics my sophomore year. With it, I fell down the proverbial rabbit hole into the strange world of quantum physics. I was enamored, so I added a physics major and wanted to understand dark matter and dark energy. Eventually my curiosity for biochemistry and physics led me to the emerging field of quantum biology.
As I think about the Goldwater Scholarship, it has – on one level – had a huge impact on my plans. Being a Scholar helped me get into a top-tier graduate school in biophysics and to be awarded an NSF GRFP Honorable Mention.
On another level, being a Scholar has had an impact on me. It helped me to distill and concentrate my disparate passions by challenging me to focus on my motivations. Though exhausting, the Goldwater application forced me to explain “me” to myself. Initially, I felt like the most uninteresting person in the world. There were many moments in life that have defined and shaped me, so how could I pick just one?
What I figured out while competing for the Goldwater Scholarship was the common denominator to all my inspirational memories. Finding it was hard because it was so mundane that I often forget that it started my entire higher-education journey. It was when my pediatrician told me that he too was dyslexic and that he had attended the same special school as me. Before then, I never thought that someone with dyslexia could go so far in life when reading a single sentence took so much effort. So, being a Goldwater Scholar has had a special impact because it reassures me that I belong in the research world.
In May 2019, I graduated from Miami University with a B.S in biochemistry and a B.A in physics. I appreciate the many research opportunities Miami provided. I have worked in two labs during my time here. Professor Michael Kennedy introduced me to the world of research, but Professor Paul Urayama, another Goldwater Scholar, has inspired me to become a research professor. His passion for teaching and research makes him a model Scholar—one I hope to emulate one day. I am continuing my education as I pursue a PhD in biophysics at the University of California, Berkeley. I plan to focus my research on the area of quantum biology. I hope by analyzing photosystems, I can help find better, more efficient renewable energy sources. While my research will focus around alternative energy, I also plan to direct my time and efforts outside the lab towards mentoring. Mentors have drastically shaped my future. I want to encourage more students with disabilities to believe in themselves and to follow their passions.