I am a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences pursuing a major in biology with a minor in STSC (Science, Technology, and Society). I served as a teaching fellow in the Pipeline and MAS (Moelis Access Science) programs during my freshman year at Penn, which allowed me to teach cardiology and biology to high school students at West Philadelphia High School. I also worked as a research assistant in the Critical Writing Program on campus. Currently, I am doing research at a microbiology lab in the Perelman School of Medicine, where I study the connection between the brain and the gut microbiome. The Integrated Studies Program has definitely played a role in cultivating my ability to tackle research questions that reach across various disciplines and has allowed me to establish strong connections at Penn.
When I walked into the ISP class during the first semester of my freshman year, I honestly wasn’t sure what to expect. The two streams of knowledge for the semester were philosophy and cognitive neuroscience. I had some knowledge of cognitive neuroscience, but I had never taken a philosophy course before. Therefore, I entered the class with curiosity and an open mind—two things that are crucial for any ISP student to have. I ended up really enjoying philosophy, and I found myself looking forward to attending Dr. Detlefsen’s philosophy lectures every week. Ironically, I am currently doing research to help Dr. Detlefsen create a new Benjamin Franklin Scholars course called World Philosophies. I am excited to contribute to the creation of a new course at Penn, especially on a subject that I may not have explored if I had not participated in ISP!
Furthermore, I found my best friends through the ISP Program. As a part of the program, we all lived together in Riepe College House in the Quad. Living together definitely played a role in strengthening our friendship and made us feel like family despite our very diverse backgrounds. Even though the ISP Program was challenging, I am grateful for the experiences I had and will have because of it.