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‘Research is the answer to curiosity’

Alicia D'Souza conducts undergraduate research in the Stanford Department on Biology's Hanawalt Lab. PHOTO COURTESY OF ALICIA D'SOUZA.

Alicia D’Souza creates STEM opportunities for underrepresented minorities. As the secretary of the Stanford Society of Women Engineers, she held a job fair to provide internships and jobs for students interested in STEM.

Alicia, a 2011 Broadcom MASTERS finalist, studies chemical engineering as a sophomore at Stanford University, where several other Broadcom MASTERS finalists also attend. They often do homework together and go out for dinner.

Read the interview below to learn more about Alicia’s current STEM goals.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR BROADCOM MASTERS EXPERIENCE: My favorite memory of Broadcom MASTERS was the final dinner when we sat with notable people in STEM fields. I sat next to Scott McGregor, the CEO of Broadcom, and enjoyed hearing the challenges he faces as a CEO of a major STEM company.

You don’t need a lab or expensive equipment to be a researcher — all you need is an inquisitive mind and a desire to understand the “why.”

I’m currently the secretary for the Stanford Society of Women Engineers (SWE). The Stanford SWE works with other STEM diversity organizations to hold an Opportunity Job Fair every year, which connects groups that are less represented in STEM fields with opportunities for summer internships and careers. This year’s keynote speaker was Scott McGregor — and it was exciting to meet him four years after Broadcom MASTERS and reflect on my journey in STEM since then.

Encourage other young biomedical scientists. Join the Society today!

A few Broadcom MASTERS finalists will remain your friends for several years beyond the competition. Today, I go to school with three of my fellow Broadcom MASTERS. I regularly work on homework and get dinner with them.

WHAT ARE YOUR CURRENT STEM GOALS: I’m spending my summer working as an undergraduate researcher in the Hanawalt Lab in the Stanford Department on Biology.

I’m hoping to complete my undergraduate degree in chemical engineering and pursue a graduate degree in a similar field. I hope to eventually create a career that merges the concrete tools of chemical engineering with current discoveries in biology.

ADVICE FOR OTHERS INTERESTED IN STEM: I highly encourage students of all ages to pursue scientific research. Research may sound daunting, but students should remember that research is simply the answer to curiosity.

Research is simply the answer to curiosity.

You definitely don’t need a lab or expensive equipment to be a researcher — all you need is an inquisitive mind and a desire to understand the “why” behind everyday occurrences. Anyone who is curious about the world around them is already a researcher!

When figuring out a topic for a research project, don’t try to work on something that sounds fancy. Instead, pick a topic that has been on your mind for a while — one that you would love to explore further.