Reading lots of research papers, having fun outside and the importance of positive self talk.
✋Hi everyone! Nice to meet you/see you again! My name is Rachel. I am a 15 y/o innovator at TKS interested in quantum computing, renewable energy, future of food, gene editing and all new tech. I love running and being outside, and I never say no to a challenge. My biggest goal in life is to help solve poverty.
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Articles I wrote
The Difference Between Non-Homologous End Joining and Homology Dependent Recombination:
Breakdown of Complex Terms in Gene Editing:
This month I had two main goals:
Deepen my knowledge and understanding about CRISPR and gene editing.
Finish my review.
(In TKS there is something called a focus, a process that students go through to become experts in a specific STEM field. There are four phases to a focus: write a ‘learn’ article where you start going into detail about a specific area in your focus topic; an ‘apply/replicate’ where you replicate an experiment/code that has already been done to deepen your understanding; a ‘review’ paper where you read lots of research papers on a specific topic and then summarize what you have learnt; and a ‘create/idea’ where you actually create something that will solve a huge issue with your STEM field. My focus is in gene editing, and I am on the review stage of my focus.)
I am happy to say that I accomplished my #1 goal for this month! I have had several meetings with gene editing professionals, and I feel like I really broadened my understanding about CRISPR and learned a lot this past month through reading many research papers.
Sadly, I can’t say the same about my second goal for this month. I did not finish my review article and video. While I can make excuses like “I was too busy with other things. I didn’t have time. I set an unrealistic goal for myself”, none of it matters, and I am actually happy that I didn’t finish my review because I learned quite a few things from it. Let me share with you the biggest lesson I learned this month.
Don’t judge yourself, or compare yourself to others. Nearing the end of the month when I knew I wouldn’t finish my review by January, I immediately felt terrible about myself and started looking at other people: “WOW I can’t believe _______ already finished their entire focus! I am such a failure if I can’t even finish my review. OMG _______’s video was so great! Mine are awful compared to that!”
This is the most toxic thing you can ever say to yourself. I was reminded of this by a guest speaker we had at TKS who was talking about self talk, and how important self-talk is. This guest speaker went even further into the relationship that we have with ourselves, and she said something that really stuck with me:
“The best relationship you will ever make is the relationship you have with yourself.”
This upcoming month I am going to really work on self-talk and the things I am saying to myself, and I encourage you to do the same. Are you speaking to yourself with kindness, compassion and encouragement?, or are you speaking to yourself with anger, anxiety and negativity? Are you comparing yourself to others and putting yourself down?, or are you being inspired by others and doing your own creative, unique thing?
I realized that one of the big things that was holding me back from finishing my review this month was that I was comparing myself to those around me, and I honestly didn’t believe I could finish my review. I am very excited to see what I can accomplish this month when I am not comparing myself to others and when I start practicing positive self-talk and actually believe in myself! 🔥
This has been our best month of the podcast so far! Ciara and I have developed really good routines and ‘hacks’ so we can get the most out of the interviews with our guests. As cliché as it is, you have to do your research and be super prepared when talking with successful professionals.
This month we had the honor to speak with Elliot Roth, founder of Spira Inc., Matt Langione, partner at the Boston Consulting Group, and Luke Hurd, augmented reality instructor and creator. Check out the episodes below!
Other cool things that happened this month
I published my own personal website which you can check out here.
I officially applied + got accepted to the TKS iGEM team. iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) is a world-wide synthetic biology competition that gives high school students and undergraduates the opportunity to use synbio to create creative ways to solve global issues. Stay tuned for next month where I will be able to tell you what the TKS iGEM team’s project is:)
I have committed, and started training, for my first full marathon! I have ran two halves, but never a full, so I am very excited to start increasing my long runs in training. I have also been talking to marathons who have experience training for 42.195km, and trying to plan out a training and fueling plan.
Throughout January I did lots of downhill and cross country skiing, skating, snowshoeing and tobogganing with my family which definitely was a highlight of my month!
I have really enjoyed our weekly TKS sessions this month. My favorite TKS yet was the Harvard Business case study. We had a 14 page Starbucks case study to read and do calculations with before the session, then during the session we crunched numbers and came up with a plan that we personally would have used to solve the problem stated in the case.
During this session I discovered that I LOVE business and real-world math calculations!! I was exposed to a very different analytical way of thinking that I had never been exposed to before. (This session also further convinced me that I would love to be an entrepreneur one day and start a company😍)
Check out this post by TKS about a video feature I had the honor to be in.
I made a fun stop motion video titled “Downhill Skiing Fun” which you can watch here.
Next month I am going to finish my focus. My goal is to finish my review article and video by the first week in February, and then the last step in my focus is the create/idea; I need to create a research proposal to use gene editing to solve a large problem.
So this month I will be spending a lot of time brainstorming different ways I can use gene editing to help end poverty.
My idea right now is to genetically modify a staple plant in Africa that gets demolished by pests. By genetically modifying this plant (haven’t decided on a specific plant yet), I will be helping to put food on the table for millions. (Just to clarify, I don’t actually need to create the transgenic organism, I just need to come up with a very in depth research proposal.)
On February 5th I will be working with some amazing TKS students passionate about nanotech and gene editing to solve a global problem in a 2 day hackathon. (More details will be coming next month!)
In mid-February we start the TKS global challenge. (🎉🎉🎉)
The challenge lasts one month, and is an incredible opportunity where TKS students get to pair with other TKS students and solve a global-billion-dollar company’s problem. We haven’t been told what company we will be working with yet, but it is supposed to be one of the best challenge partners in the history of TKS. In past years TKS has partnered with the United Nations, IBM, Google, SpaceX and more! I am SO EXCITED for the TKS challenge so I can start applying everything that I have learned, and been working on for the past 5 months, into action tackling real-world problems.
And that, my friends, is my month in a nut shell! I hope that you had a wonderful past month and have 🔥goals for next month.
See in February!
Until then, feel free to reach out to me at:
LinkedIn, or email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
And don’t forget to hit that subscribe button on Medium and YouTube so you can read my articles and watch my videos as I publish them.
Happy February and have a lovely rest of your day!