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The amazing potential of kids my age

Anusha Zaman dissected animal organs at the Duke Tip program. PHOTO COURTESY OF ANUSHA ZAMAN.

Not all teens discuss their future in science, technology, engineering, or math over pizza. But that’s just what Anusha Zaman did this summer.

She dissected animals to learn how organs function, toured hospitals and a hyperbaric chamber, and cemented her goal of going into medicine. All while still in middle school!

Read our interview with Anusha, a 2015 Broadcom MASTERS finalist, below to learn more about her medical aspirations and why she believes everyone can pursue their dreams with the right foundation.

ON GOING TO STEM SUMMER CAMP: This summer, I attended Duke Tip at Duke West in Durham, North Carolina. I took an anatomy & physiology and medical ethics course.

The three-week camp offered a crash course in specialized fields of science that can give students a jumpstart into pursuing their college major or future career of choice. It was a safe learning environment, specialized for advanced students to pursue their passions in STEM, arts, or athletics. It gave me the chance to develop a network of peers who inspire and drive me to continue researching.

Through dissection, I saw all my knowledge of organs come together in a fully functioning system.

We had debates concerning medical issues in medicine, such as eugenics and genetic engineering. We also had a full week of dissections, after lectures on the different organ systems of the body. I dissected eyes, a kidney, a brain, a heart, and an entire fetal pig!

I enjoyed dissecting the fetal pig because I could see all my knowledge of the different organs covered in anatomy come together into a fully functioning system, which was really interesting.

At the camp, we also toured the hospital and libraries, including the Brain Imaging Center at Duke Hospital, a hyperbaric chamber, and the Duke Lemur Center. These tours cemented my goal to go into the medical field.

We discussed our futures in STEM over pizza.

I also cherish the little moments with my friends and peers at camp. We participated in competitions like TipSync, Tipial Pursuit, and discussed our futures in STEM over pizza.

HOW BROADCOM MASTERS ENCOURAGED HER TO EXPLORE HER PASSIONS: Duke Tip, just like Broadcom MASTERS, provided a fun, inclusive learning environment with peers who share many of the same goals, aspirations, and interests as me.

Broadcom MASTERS opened my eyes to the amazing potential of people my age. 

Broadcom MASTERS really opened my eyes to the amazing capabilities and potential of people my age. It showed me that anyone and everyone can pursue their dreams with the right foundation. This competition is definitely a great kick starter!

The same can be said of Duke Tip, since everyone in my anatomy class wants to pursue various careers within the medical field, from sports medicine, to trauma surgery, to radiology.

WHAT ARE YOUR CURRENT STEM GOALS: I’ve been conducting a toxicology study on the detrimental effects of hookah and secondhand smoke on human oral keratinocytes at the molecular level.

Currently, I’m doing a protein analysis to see if the significant dysregulation of certain genes involved in detoxifying foreign substances are translated into their respective proteins. I’m also beginning preliminary research of biomedical therapeutic technologies.

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