Aug. 2, 2016 - Congratulations to Surafel Argaw, Kwasi Amofa, and Marc Shuler for winning 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prizes respectively at the REU Poster Presentations during the 2016 EBICS Annual Retreat! Sufafel, Kwasi, and Marc entered their EBICS REU journeys with different backgrounds of lab experience, but by the end of their 10-weeks, all returned to their home institutions similarly affected: encouraged by their expanded skill sets, inspired by the work and advice of their mentors and PIs, and grateful for the opportunities and the network afforded to them through the EBICS community.
Surafel and Marc both worked in Platt Lab this summer. Surafel, an electrical and computer engineering major, attended Georgia Perimeter Community College for the first two years of his undergraduate studies, but will start his junior year at Georgia Tech in Fall 2016. His EBICS REU experience amplified his excitement to attend Georgia Tech and continue working in Platt Lab: "Dr. Platt and my mentors have worked hard to make sure that I use all my potential and prepared me well for the final presentation of my topic. I was so surprised on the fact that I won the competition because I saw many of other students projects displayed. But I am grateful and thankful that my work was selected."
Marc, a bioengineering major starting his junior year at Pennsylvania State University, was first introduced to EBICS when he worked in Platt Lab in summer 2015. His success at the REU Poster Presentations further motivates him to work hard: "The program has granted me the opportunity to conduct high quality research and think critically about my results. I also sharpened my ability to effectively communicate and present my research to a variety of audiences. It is rewarding to see my preparation and efforts recognized by the judges, but placing 3rd only makes me more determined and anxious for my next opportunity to take home the gold."
For Kwasi, a biomedical engineering major starting his senior year at Western New England University, EBICS REU in the Hammond and Griffith labs was his first-ever REU experience. His 2nd place recognition at the Poster Presentations represents his perseverance through a steep learning curve. From learning how to pipette to the recent news of his selection to present at 2016 BMES, Kwasi reflects on the impact of this summer on his trajectory: "Prior to this experience, pursuing a PhD in Biological or Biomedical Engineering was not an option I was considering. I could not thank [Marianna Sofman] enough for great guidance and support to help me quickly learn the ropes within this field of research. I plan on building upon everything I have learned from this experience to grow as a scientist and help to open doors to others just as the EBICS program has done for me."
Surafel, Marc, and Kwasi are all eager to continue the work they started this summer in their future studies, and all plan on pursuing PhDs in their respective fields.