High School Scientista Spotlight
By Leena Shah '16
My interview with Grace Ganzel, a Huron High School senior who holds a winning entry to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair.
1. Tell me about yourself!
I am a senior at Huron High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I have a big interest in computational biology and genetics, and I love music and synchronized swimming. I play the flute and piccolo in the Symphony Band and Orchestra at my high school, and I swim on our synchronized swimming team.
2. Tell me about your project.
I tried to determine which chromosome could predict an individual’s response to certain toxins only by using computer programs. I used the programs to run statistical tests which would find individuals that were most similar to each other on a genetic level. By seeing which individuals with known reaction levels were most similar to individuals with unknown reaction levels, I predicted the unknown values. By comparing my predictions to the correct answers, I was able to see that chromosome 20 did the best at predicting reaction levels.
3. Where did/do you carry out your research for your entry?
I carried out my research in two main places: in the comfort of my bedroom on my laptop, and in the office of mentor, Dr. Inhan Lee. With her help, I was able to use just the power of a computer to run tests on data, organize, and predict new data. It’s incredible how useful computers can be in scientific research.
4. What motivated you to become involved in science research?
During my sophomore year of high school, I met someone that took part in an organization called miRcore every Saturday, and he invited me to come along with him. At first I didn’t understand anything that was going on in our two hour meetings, however, everything was so interesting. I would go home after each session and try and learn more about genomics on my own. Two years later, I have learned more than I thought I could ever know about genetics and personalized medicine, and now Dr. Lee helps me apply my knowledge to relevant research.
5. What aspects of researching for your project do you most enjoy?
The thing I most enjoyed about researching for my project was getting an answer to my question. The cool thing about science is that you actually have the chance to do that, and that is the main reason why I want to be a scientist.
6. Do you have any advice for fellow high school students?
Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone! This was the first time I participated in the science fair (not including my elementary school project on dogs), and I was completely freaked out. All I had to do to be successful was believe in myself, and not give up.
WELCOME, UMICH SCIENTISTAS!
SORT BY TAG
The Network for Pre-Professional Women in Science and Engineering
The Scientista Foundation is a registered 501(c)(3) -- Donate!