SEED/STEM Success Stories
Several students shared how these pivotal high school programs paved the way for their scientific futures at some of the world’s most prestigious institutions
Aishat Audu participated in Project SEED in 2014 and 2015 in the lab of Dr. Anthony Borel at Eli Lilly and Company. She graduated from IUPUI in 2020 with a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and a Bachelor of Arts degree in medical humanities and health studies. Though she has taken a gap year, she has kept busy by applying to medical schools, continuing research she began as an undergraduate student, and helping as a program assistant for the Indianapolis Project SEED/STEM virtual summer programs. She says she is extremely proud of the programs and what they have contributed to the community.
“Project SEED was my entry into professional scientific research. I am incredibly grateful to have had this experience as a junior in high school. Along with the wealth of scientific knowledge and technical skills I learned in Dr. Borel’s lab, I learned the soft skills of professionalism, how to write and think scientifically, and how to present my research.”
Aishat was accepted into Indiana University School of Medicine and will be attending in the fall of 2021.
Anna Martin participated in Project SEED in the summer of 2015 and 2016. She spent both of these years working along scientists at Eli Lilly and Company. She graduated in May 2020 from the IUPUI Honors College with a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and minors in mathematics and biology from Purdue University. She also spent the last year serving as a clinical assistant at Forefront Dermatology, where she assisted with surgical excisions and other clinical procedures.
Anna says Project SEED helped get her to where she is today. “Project SEED enabled me to build a strong foundation in research at an early age, resulting in me being published as a first author at age 18 and being the only undergraduate student to present at several medical conferences. The mentors in Project SEED are dedicated to their students’ success, both during the program and beyond,” said Martin. “As the first in my family to pursue a career in science, let alone medicine, I would have been absolutely lost without the guidance and advice of the individuals involved in Project SEED. I am so thankful to Mr. Sanders for giving me the opportunity of a lifetime. Without his dedication to Project SEED, the program would be nowhere near the caliber it is today.”
Alyssa Miller participated in Project STEM in 2017. At the time, she was a graduating senior at Carmel High School and she was placed in a research lab at Eli Lilly and Company for the summer. In December 2020, she graduated from Miami University, and is headed to medical school at Northwestern University this fall.
“My interest in research was encouraged by my time in Project STEM. As soon as I arrived at Miami, I started looking for a research position in a lab,” said Miller. I have reason to believe that one of the deciding factors for the professor who chose me to join her was my experience at Lilly. I will be forever grateful, because that lab at Miami was a wonderful experience for me and has shaped my time at Miami and provided me with excellent experience for my resume. There were wonderful people at that lab who mentored me, encouraged me, gave me so many opportunities, and wrote wonderful letters of recommendation for me, and it all started with my experience at Lilly to help get me the position at Miami.”
Alyssa was accepted at nine different medical schools this year, including Northwestern University, which has been her dream school since high school. Northwestern offered her a hefty scholarship, and she frequently gives credit to Project STEM for creating the path to all her success.
Safiya Sankari participated in Project STEM in the summer of 2020, and her work was published in IUPUI’s Program for Research and Scholarship (IMPRS). She worked in the lab of Dr. Eneida Mendonca at Regenstrief Insitute. Her research focused on understanding the impact Chronic Kidney Disease has on COVID-19 patient outcomes. Safiya’s research was recognized at the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) and National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS). She was accepted into MIT, and says she is very grateful for the experiences she gained from Project STEM.
“Project STEM allowed me to explore medical research. I was very interested in medicine but had no way of taking part in research in the field prior to the program. I’m grateful for Project STEM program leader Mr. Sanders, Dr. Mendonca, Ms. Allen, my mentor at Regenstrief, and the Project STEM summer team for helping me throughout this project and being able to learn more about the intersections between medicine and computer science.”
This summer, Safiya is planning to participate in the Nanotechnology research camp at IUPUI. She wishes to continue her research through her gap year before she heads off to MIT.