My name is Maryjane Vennat, and I am currently a third-year biology major and public health minor here at the University of California, Irvine. Early last year, I was truly shocked and honored to be named a 2009 Goldwater Scholar.
In fact, my first exposure to research and academia actually happened right here at UCI back when I was a Junior at University High School. I had the wonderful opportunity to participate in the American Cancer Society’s Youth Summer Science Fellowship program, where I worked in the School of Medicine in UCI’s Department of Epidemiology and the Cancer Research Institute conducting breast cancer research. The experience was one of a kind and it opened my eyes to the world of academia and the ongoing biomedical research efforts that I believe, in the upcoming years, will yield great knowledge, novel diagnostic tools, treatments, and even cures for those who live their lives suffering with devastating illness. We are very lucky to have a research university that has such fantastic opportunities to learn and to ask questions about the things that interest us, and I think my early experiences here at UCI guided the research opportunities I later pursued as an undergraduate at the UCI School of Medicine in the Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology.
I have learned and continue to learn so much, and my experiences have only fueled my interest in medical research. I am very excited for this upcoming year for so many reasons, and there is so much to look forward to! I strongly encourage everyone to make your college experience unforgettable and take advantage of the opportunities available during the short time you have here, research research-related and other, both inside the classroom and out.