For weeks, incoming Bronxville High School junior Isabela Lamadrid has participated at the Human Oncology and Pathogenesis Program (HOPP) Summer Student Program, which is designed for teenagers interested in potentially pursuing careers in the biomedical sciences.
Science has long fascinated Lamadrid, who started an independent research project studying the health of the Bronx River her freshman year that continues today. During her time in the HOPP, she investigated how cancer cells escape select drugs in an effort to better identify patients that will respond to certain treatments at the Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
“The HOPP program provided me an opportunity to do real science research on something I am truly passionate about. Although the river is fascinating in its own right, I really wanted to spend this past summer doing something that would prepare me for a career in medicine,” she said. “Researching cancer at one of the top cancer treatment centers in America seemed like the perfect option to learn about something I am passionate about.”
To even be considered for the prestigious program, Lamadrid had to go through an arduous application process. Before being accepted, she had to put together a package that included an official transcript, personal statement, resume and two letters of recommendation from teachers.
In all, just 15 of more than 500 students in the state - most of which are from Manhattan - were chosen to participate.
“Besides studying under the leading cancer researchers in the world, and working with adults who mostly have PhDs in science, I really enjoyed meeting the other interns in the program,” Lamadrid added. “Most of the interns were rising seniors, so it was definitely cool to hear advice about certain AP classes, as well as, tips for standardized testing. I loved meeting students who shared similar interests, and know that in the future those connections will be invaluable.”
During her time in HOPP, Lamadrid was afforded the opportunity to attend various events and presentations hosted by some of the nation’s brightest minds. She also toured various departments of the hospital during the program.
Lamadrid noted that most of the participants in the program were from Manhattan, and she said that she hopes her experience in HOPP will encourage other Westchester County students to follow her lead.
“I would love to encourage other students who have interest in science, especially young women, to research this very special and unique opportunity at Memorial Sloan Kettering,” she added. “(It’s) not only one of the most premier cancer research centers in the world, but living in the New York area allows high school students to be exposed to some of the most brilliant people on the planet.”
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