For many students, learning is a year-round endeavor. This is certainly true of several recent Broadcom MASTERS finalists who spent their 2022 summer vacations pursuing their academic and research interests at immersive STEM camps all around the country. Let’s meet some of these motivated young people and hear some highlights from their summer of science.
Madilyne Beaudry of Ogden, Utah (Broadcom MASTERS 2020), won a STEM Award, specifically the Science 2nd Place in 2020. With the award came an opportunity to attend a STEM summer camp. Madilyne chose to attend the University of Utah’s Medical Laboratory Science Summer Immersion Program, where she and 31 other students took part in research experiences in urology, hematology and parasitology. Each day at the camp, Madilyne and her peers attended two lectures about the topics of the day before receiving a case study of a patient experiencing a collection of symptoms. They then took to the lab, where they learned how to use many kinds of lab equipment and set to the task of diagnosing the patient by testing biological samples. They looked at sickle cells, studied blood clotting, identified parasites in (fake) fecal matter and toured one of Utah’s largest and most automated labs.
For her Broadcom MASTERS project, Madilyne explored creating bioplastics from composted materials—and she notes that medical science is a newer area of interest.
“My time at Broadcom MASTERS exposed me to my peers’ research and allowed me to get a firmer grasp on the multifaceted world of science. It gave me research ideas that I explored further in the camp that I chose. I still have a particular fascination with biochemistry and environmental science, but I feel like this camp and my time at Broadcom MASTERS gave me a better idea of medical research. Personally, I enjoy science research, and this camp gave me more confidence with experimentation. Though I did make mistakes, the instructors were helpful and encouraging. I feel more prepared as I take steps to do research and experiments in the future.”
Clara Choi of Santa Ana, California (Broadcom MASTERS 2021) attended a four-week long in-person camp, the California State Summer School for Mathematics and Science (COSMOS) at the University of California, Irvine. At COSMOS, students join various clusters, with each cluster addressing different advanced topics in STEM fields, including a variety of engineering disciples, pharmaceutical sciences and computer science.
In harmony with her neuroscience-focused Broadcom MASTERS project, in which she collected brain wave data from an electroencephalogram/brain-computer interface (BCI) to study differences in virtual and in-person learning, Clara pursued a biomedical engineering cluster called, “Bioengineering Your Brain: Controlling the World with your Brainwaves.” Each day, Clara and her peers attended lectures from UCI faculty before spending several hours in the lab working on group research projects, with mentorship from university teaching assistants.
“At camp, we used high-tech BCIs to analyze brain waves, so it was directly relevant to my Broadcom MASTERS research and my interest in neuroscience. I really enjoyed working on a research project with a group of three other students. We used a BCI called a P300 speller and analyzed whether electrode counts had any impact on the cross-validation accuracy and performance of the BCI.”
Pauline Estrada of Fresno, California (Broadcom MASTERS 2019, 2020), winner of a STEM Award, Technology 2nd Place, attended iD Tech Camps at the California Institute of Technology, where she studied Python coding for machine learning. Though some students attended the camp in person, Pauline took part virtually. At the camp, Pauline and her peers would spend their days receiving instruction in coding before receiving a prompt in which they would apply their lessons to a discrete challenge.
“My experiences as a 2019 and 2020 Broadcom MASTERS finalist influenced my decision to do a STEM camp in Python coding and machine learning. Our team challenge in programming a Raspberry Pi gave me a glimpse into the applications and the great things that I can do with coding. My decision was also influenced by my recent science fair project with my brother which uses artificial intelligence to create a computer model that can detect drought stress in plants. This AI model is also run with Python, so I wanted to strengthen my ability to code. I am excited to apply all the knowledge I gained from my camp to my next science fair project.”
But the camp wasn’t the end of Pauline’s busy summer. Soon after, she attended the American Society for Horticultural Science annual conference in Chicago, where she won first place for Best Undergraduate Poster.
Elizabeth (Lizzie) Reilly of San Antonio, Texas (Broadcom MASTERS 2021) won the STEM Award, Science 2nd Place which gave her the opportunity to attend the Brown University Pre-College Program: STEM for Rising 9th and 10th Graders. There, she took part in a course called, “Frontiers of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology.” Through lectures with Brown faculty, Lizzie learned about topics ranging from gene expression through RNA transcription and translation, to gene technologies like CRISPR-Cas9 or exon skipping, to different types of stem cells and their capabilities.
In lab sessions, Lizzie learned about immunofluorescence, gel electrophoresis, sea urchin fertilization, PCR tests and regenerative observations on planarian, in which she was able to make a two-headed planarian.
“One of my favorite parts, if not my favorite part, of my time at Brown would definitely be the friendships and connections that I made. It was so nice to meet many like-minded people from all around the world who had a love for science and helping others as much as I did. The coolest part about the new connections that I made was how different, yet similar we were.
“I attended some of the most fascinating lectures I think I will ever attend. I learned all about cells, genes, DNA and how stem cells work and can be used to save lives. I was in awe at what stem cells can do! My favorite thing that I learned about was Cardiopoietic stem cell therapy in heart failure, also called the C-CURE. I absolutely loved studying all about this innovative approach to cardiovascular regenerative medicine and even want to become a cardiothoracic surgeon who administers this treatment to patients.”
For the latest on the Broadcom MASTERS, meet the 2022 Top 30 Finalists and stay tuned to see who takes home this year’s awards on November 1, 2022!