Four MIT seniors recently received the prestigious Marshall Scholarship. According to the MIT News Office press release, these undergraduates — Kirin J. Sinha, Catherine E. Koch, Colleen Loynachan, and Grace C. Young — will join the 30 other U.S. winners in pursuing a graduate degree for two years at the U.K. institution of their choice.
Kirin Sinha, an MIT senior currently pursuing a degree in Theoretical Mathematics and Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, plans to study both mathematics and computer science at Cambridge University. Kirin has been working with Professor John W.M. Bush in applied math, studying the wave behavior of water droplets.
“I wanted a different experience in graduate school to broaden my experience,” said Sinha about her motivation on pursuing the scholarship. “Cambridge University is a school steeped in the tradition of mathematics dating back hundreds of years, and the Marshall Scholarship enables me to study there.”
Sinha also co-founded and currently leads a summer program for girls called SHINE, which combines dance lessons and math classes for seventh grade girls struggling in school. She created the program with the help of the MIT Public Service Center. “I saw that the problem was not girls’ inherent mathematical ability, but their self-confidence.” Sinha envisions an international version of the program and hopes to modify it to fit to the U.K. curriculum and standards in order to implement SHINE in Cambridge in the U.K. “It is my goal to become a professor of mathematics while staying involved with SHINE,” said Sinha.
Biology major Catherine Koch plans to obtain a Master’s of Science in Radiation Biology at Oxford University and hopes to also obtain an MD/PhD in order to practice as a pediatric oncologist. Koch initially came to MIT with an interest in participating in the UROP program, and has recently been working in Professor David M. Sabatini’s lab at the Whitehead Institute on cancer metabolism research. According to the MIT News Office Press release, she contributed as an author to a publication in Nature Genetics describing a new cancer therapy based on cancer metabolism.
“Research is a very international experience. It broadens your perspective,” said Koch of her experience in the MISTI Italy program.
Koch’s interests also include playing on the MIT Men’s Hockey team and past work in a trauma hospital, which fueled her drive to become a physician scientist.
Grace Young (a Tech Arts editor) is a senior studying Mechanical and Ocean Engineering with minors in History of Art and Architecture. She plans on pursuing a Master of Science and PhD in engineering science.
“My passions for engineering and the ocean developed separately. At MIT I found ways to combine my love of robotics and the sea.” Calling this mix the “perfect storm,” Young first found her passion with robotics when she joined her high school’s robotics team. Young said that her internship at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration showed her “how important it is for scientists and policy makers to work together,” and plans to continue working in ocean engineering technology and policy as a career. “I want to develop technology that helps implement good ocean management policy, as well as have input in making ocean policy.”
At Oxford, Young wants to work at the Global Ocean Commission. “It’s a great place for me to develop as a scientist and gain an international perspective while interacting with policy makers.”
Colleen Loynachan will be completing her degree in Materials Science and Engineering and plans to pursue a Master of Science in Biomedical Engineering and Biomedical Research at Imperial College London. “Imperial offers a unique Master’s Degree in biomedical engineering with biomaterials,” said Loynachan, whose current research background is in materials science with an emphasis on biomaterials. “However, in the future, I hope to work at the interface of materials science and medicine doing translational research.”
Loynachan spent her past spring studying at Oxford and previously spent her summer at the California Institute of Technology, where she co-authored a research publication in the Nano Letters journal with Professor Julia Greer. Loynachan received the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship, an award established by Congress for college students studying science and engineering, and is currently conducting research in protein aggregation with Assistant Professor Polina O. Anikeeva ’09.
“I’m mainly motivated to pursue my project because of its therapeutic potential. I believe the solution to many global health and biomedical problems, particularly a range of disease treatments, exists in the creative design of advanced biomaterials that translate into clinical practice,” said Loynachan. She hopes to complete a PhD and postdoctoral studies in the U.S. following her studies in the U.K.
All four recipients thanked Kim Bernard of the MIT Distinguished Fellowship Office and everyone involved in the MIT process for their commitment and help throughout the application. “You really get to learn about yourself through applying,” added Koch.