Close up of hands working in lab

Penn Admissions Blog

Discovering Science from High School to College
Anova | September 15, 2017

The first time I was genuinely enthralled by a scientific concept was when I was just about 5 years old. I used to frequent a museum as a child that allowed visitors to insert jellyfish genes into bacteria to make them glow. Most students interested in Biology will likely have performed this experiment and might see it as mundane, but I see that experience as one of the earliest impressions I had of the field.

As a high school student, we all want to explore our most favorite fields in depth. Especially of the students that come to Penn, most teens take many AP classes to know more about them. But what is uniquely invaluable to solidify one’s interests is the opportunity of interning. I was fortunate to have had both wet lab (think people pipetting in white coats) and dry lab (more of people making models on their computers) experiences.

And so when I was applying to colleges, I wanted to know how I could explore my scientific interests. One of the labs I worked at focused on Neuroscience, and evidently I particularly discussed those opportunities during my college visits. It was quite interesting to note at one rural Northeast school that the low population surrounding the college made gathering data for research much more challenging. Of course that was not a strictly deciding factor, as I was not even sure I wanted to become a brain expert of sorts. However, it did make me consider what certain schools might uniquely offer.

The great thing about Penn is it’s situated near major hospitals, translational medicine centers, and houses incredible basic science research labs as well all in walking distance. Moreover, some of the Biology courses I’ve taken so far emphasize experimental proof of molecular concepts instead of solely regurgitating information. One of my favorite classes so far BIOL 221, known as Molecular Biology and Genetics, discussed how we would approach discovering genetics concepts first hand as if such research was not already in our textbooks for instance. I also know in another biology class that a student went up to a guest speaker one day to learn more about her research and left the lecture with a lab position.

Moreover, the fact that Penn is teeming with such opportunities rarely goes unnoticed. I came here wanting to delve deep into biology but found many new ways to explore. Unexpectedly, I became interested in the regulation of scientific discovery especially in the pharmaceutical world and conducted research on that for several months.

Ultimately, the science community at Penn embraces people looking for new opportunities. As a woman in science, I feel excited to delve deeper into my fields of interests here and can’t wait for what I will explore next.


About the author

I’m a California native from the Silicon Valley in the Life Sciences and Management dual-degree program between the College and Wharton. On campus, I’m involved in 180 Degrees Consulting, the Student Federal Credit Union, and the Penn Undergraduate Biotech Society. Additionally, I’m working with a professor in London on Health Economics Research. In my free time, I love exploring restaurants (ask me for my color-coded restaurant week spreadsheet), painting, traveling, and most of all taking a nap outside on College Green.

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