Meet Amgen Scholar Alumni Carly O'Connor
"I have been studying Japanese for eight years, and the ability to use my language skills and conduct science is incomparable to any other experience I have ever had."
What inspired you to major in science?
“I became interested in scientific research due to a number of factors. The biggest factor was my brother, who was diagnosed with autism at a young age. I viewed research as a necessity for his well-being and for understanding his condition. Then, in middle school I had an amazing teacher that got me interested in cellular biology and the life sciences, which I eventually combined with my desire to become a doctor.
What's the larger significance of your Amgen Scholars research? What's your ultimate career goal?
“The project I'm working on has to do with studying cumulus cells around a developing oocyte, which has huge implications for fertility treatment. It is my first venture into women's health biology, which I realized is an area that is historically under-researched. I was happy to actually see the project through and obtain results, which is another new experience! I hope to one day be a practicing gynecologist who continues to work in this research field.”
Why did you apply to the Amgen Scholars Program?
“What really cemented the Amgen Scholars Program for me was the availability of a project in women's health that perfectly aligned with my interests, and the opportunity to study in Japan. I have been studying Japanese for eight years, and the ability to use my language skills and conduct science is incomparable to any other experience I have ever had.”
What aspects of the program are you most enjoying this summer?
“Working with the equipment available at The University of Tokyo, and actually seeing and manipulating cells is something I've always read about in textbooks but never had a chance to do myself. I feel that my Japanese has improved greatly and I love the way Japanese labs are run. Being able to climb mountains, eat okonomiyake (Japanese savory pancake) and wear a traditional yukata with my lab members is something that I will never forget it.”
To learn more about the Amgen Scholars Program, please visit our website and check out the #AmgenScholars hashtag on Twitter. Visit AmgenInspires.com and follow @AmgenFoundation to stay up to date with all STEM-related news from the Amgen Foundation.