In today's Post, we invited our 2021/22 winner to share a bit of her journey so that our IgnITE community can learn from her experiences and passions.
Without further ado, please welcome Yein Chung!
Name : Yein Chung
School/Year : St. Benedict Catholic Secondary School, Grade 12
Fun Fact : I’ve lived on three different continents!
Next Goal: Publishing a peer-reviewed paper as a co-author for the first time!
What's the next step for you?
I plan to continue working on various projects with my research mentor, Dr. Rhee from Stanford Cardiovascular Institute. After graduating high school, I will study Life Sciences at the University of Toronto and pursue undergraduate research opportunities. I also plan to continue volunteering at K-BioX, a non-profit organization, to develop a platform for communication/networking for Korean life scientists around the world.
Why did you choose your project?
My project was about how SARS-CoV-2 affects the hearts of individuals with Down syndrome. Down syndrome is associated with increased SARS-CoV-2 related risks, but there is a lack of research done to understand the potential causes. Although Down syndrome is the most common chromosomal anomaly that affects 1 in 750 babies in Canada, it is still underrepresented and under-researched. Therefore, my proposal aims to use engineered heart tissues from patient-derived iPSCs, and investigate their response to SARS-CoV-2 infection.
What has IgnITE taught you?
IgNITE has taught me how to communicate better with other students and researchers. Throughout the two rounds of the competition, I got to practice various skills by writing an abstract, making an elevator pitch video, and preparing a poster presentation and Q&A sessions. I learned that research entails so much more than just reading papers, and I hope to use the skills I learned in IgNITE to contribute back to the scientific field.
Finally, any advice for future competitors?
My advice for future competitors would be to pick a topic you would enjoy researching about. Even though it’s a competition, IgNITE provides resources that help students grow as researchers. From my personal experience, it has been challenging to find research opportunities offered to high school students, so my advice would be to have fun and to get the most out of your experience! Another piece of advice would be to reach out when you need help because your mentor will be there to help you :) Thanks to my mentor Laurel for always being there for me!
Thank you Yein Chung for sharing your story with us!