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Danika Kartchner: 2018 TGen Bioscience Leadership Academy

Danika, a rising senior at Arizona Agribusiness and Equine Center from Laveen, says "TGen Bioscience Leadership Academy opened new windows to worlds I had never contemplated."

When I found I was accepted into the TGen Bioscience Leadership Academy, I was undeniably excited but, simultaneously, apprehensive.
Although I found the idea of exploring a myriad of unfamiliar topics in biomedicine and the translation between research and clinical applications exhilarating, I could not drop the feeling I would be quickly isolated and rejected by my peers. I carried this dread into my first day at TGen. However, I found this fear to be entirely misplaced. Every person in the program has been nothing but kind and welcoming, and I do not have to feel perpetually terrified that I will say something wrong and be cast out.
Being a “Bioscience Leader,” I have learned, is to push oneself into environments outside of their comfort, to ask questions, and to participate in every activity and challenge. Each member of the Bioscience Leadership Academy is present because they chose to pursue their interests and embrace their ambition in favor of manufacturing opportunities for themselves.
The activities scheduled throughout our day prepare us to harness these opportunities applicable to biomedical careers, workplace skills, and leadership qualities. The chance to tour HonorHealth and the Center for Rare Childhood Disorders was the greatest opportunity thus far. Both of these locations allowed for a glimpse into translational medical practices: the very purpose for TGen's founding.
There is nothing quite as exciting as visualizing the connection between research and clinical application. Genetic diagnostics are changing medical treatments for people across the globe, and I find it fascinating that one can not only diagnose an individual by screening their genome, but also prescribe medications that more accurately and efficiently treat the patient’s ailment. Moreover, clinical trials conducted through HonorHealth represent the forefront of the integration of new drugs into medicinal practices. In addition learning about precision and translational medicine, I enjoyed interviewing vendors from various scientific companies, the individuals that make scientific technologies a reality, who provided insight into the business scope of science. I was particularly enthralled by this display because I had never considered the business aspect of science. This experience represents merely one of many instances in which the Bioscience Leadership Academy opened new windows to worlds I had never contemplated. Overall, I consider my experience in the Bioscience Leadership Academy to be one of the most eye-opening and welcoming experiences I have ever had the pleasure of partaking in.


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