Excited… Nervous… Tired… Ready: Those four words described the
range of emotions running through Arizona State University senior
Michael Rosengrant's mind on the morning of the 2015 Helios
Scholars at TGen Symposium on July 24.
"Did I already say excited?" asked Rosengrant who was mentored
by Dr. Jeff Kiefer in bioinformatics. "I'm really excited."
Eight weeks of hands-on, full-time, patient-focused research at
TGen culminated with a day of oral and poster presentations for the
45 high school, undergraduate and graduate students who comprised
the ninth class of Helios Scholars at TGen. Every student presented
a poster on their research to a diverse audience ranging from proud
parents to esteemed faculty. Seven Helios Scholars were selected to
speak about their work to the more than 300 in attendance, and for
the first time, all speakers were women.
"I am as nervous as the students are," said Jessica Aldrich, a
senior bioinformatician who worked with Helios Scholars Vanessa
Barker and Fatima Naveed. "I want them to do well before the
judges. I know how hard they've worked, and I want their
presentations to reflect that."
From neurogenomics to research administration, cancer to
infectious disease, the students tackled an array of research
topics, with varying results. Austin Cotter, a sophomore at Arizona
State University, worked in with Dr. Jesse Hunter on Spinal
Muscular Atrophy (SMA). Cotter's project yielded inconclusive
results, but he was undaunted in his presentation.
"When you spend eight weeks, 40 hours a week, getting
inconclusive results, you might think its disheartening, but in
science, it's all about narrowing it down, getting those thousand
'No's' before getting the 'Yes," Cotter explained. "That's how
Sad… Depressed… Disappointed: That was how Savannah Hernandez
described her feelings at the conclusion of the Symposium.
"I'm sad because I just don't want it to end," said Hernandez,
an incoming freshman at University of Arizona. She worked with Dr.
Michael Berens in the Brain Tumor Unit. "It's been so much
Applications for the 10th class of Helios Scholars at
TGen open in January 2016.
Learn more about the program here.
Helios Scholars at TGen, 2015 Symposium Honorees
Oral Presentation Honoress (left to right):
Heather Sonnemann, third place; Abby Moskowitz, first place;
Heather Mead, second place
Poster Presentation Honorees (left to
right): Juan Rodriguez, Havell Markus, Siva Kailas,
Joseph Lagas, Sukriti Bagchi, Alex Janss, Madison LaFleur, Brooks
Benard, Fatima Naveed, Divya Mahendra