Today, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is proud to announce our newest initiative, Paying It Forward. This innovative program seeks to create opportunities for our students to make a real difference in their communities through volunteerism, mentorship, and fundraising.
At MIT, we believe that education should be accessible and available to all, regardless of income or background. We strive to create meaningful learning opportunities for students to bridge the digital divide and ensure that all individuals have the resources and technology they need to succeed.
The Paying It Forward program will give our students the chance to use their newfound knowledge and skills to pay it forward. Through this program, students will participate in community service projects, mentor and inspire local children and young adults, and use their technological talent to tackle poverty, inequality and other pressing issues. The goal of the program is to equip our students with the skills and resources they need to lead their own successful projects, while creating a positive and lasting impact in their communities.
Our students will also receive financial support to use for their projects. This support helps remove the financial barrier so our students can create and lead projects that have a real and lasting impact. Projects range from teaching coding to underprivileged children, to building wheelchair ramps for the elderly or disabled. All of these projects are aimed at helping those who have less access to technology and resources, and we believe our students have the capacity to make the world a better place.
It is our hope that Paying It Forward will spark a new wave of engagement, involvement and service among MIT’s students. We want our students to go out into their communities and make a difference, no matter how small or large. By using their knowledge and skills, every student can have a lasting impact. We are proud to be able to provide this opportunity to our students and are excited to see the impact of this program.
Given that arriving at MIT in fall 2019, senior Sherry Nyeo has executed groundbreaking do the job in many labs on campus, acted as a mentor to many other learners, and created a lasting mark on the Institute community. But regardless of her effectively-earned bragging legal rights, Nyeo isn’t a person to boast. Rather, she can take every single option to categorical just how grateful she is to the professors, alumni, and fellow college students who have aided and motivated her throughout her time at MIT. “I like assisting people today if I can,” claims Nyeo, who is majoring in computer system science and molecular biology, “because I obtained served so a great deal.”
Nyeo’s enthusiasm for science started when she applied for the Selective Science Software at Tainan Initially Senior Higher Faculty, commonly thought of one of the most prestigious significant educational facilities in Taiwan. “Preparing for that course of action made me notice that biology was quite amazing,” she recollects.
When Nyeo was 16, her relatives moved from Taiwan to Colorado, where by she ongoing to cultivate her interest in STEM. Even though she excelled at biology, she to begin with struggled to learn computer science. “[Programming] was truly hard for me,” she states. “It was a wholly diverse way of considering.” When she arrived at MIT, she made a decision to go after a diploma in computer science specifically simply because she understood she would come across it complicated and mainly because she appreciates how very important knowledge assessment is to the industry of biology. After all, she claims, when you’re performing at the scale of cells and molecules, “you want a good deal of info to explain what is likely on.”
In the winter of her initially 12 months at MIT, Nyeo started executing fingers-on investigation in laboratories on campus via the Undergraduate Investigation Chances Program (UROP). Her work in the lab of Whitehead Fellow Silvi Rouskin sparked an enduring fascination in RNA, which she has arrive to regard as her “favorite biomolecule.”
Nyeo’s do the job in the Rouskin lab focused on option RNA constructions and the roles they enjoy in human and viral biology. Even though DNA typically exists as a double helix, RNA can fold itself into a large variety of structures in get to satisfy distinct capabilities. Through her time as a pupil researcher, Nyeo has shown a identical capability to adapt to distinctive conditions. When MIT campus users evacuated thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic in March 2020, and her UROP grew to become completely distant, she dealt with her time absent from the lab as an opportunity to discover the computational aspect of exploration. Her operate was subsequently included in a Mother nature Communications paper on the SARS-CoV-2 genome, on which she is listed as a co-creator.
Since returning to campus, Nyeo has typically labored in multiple labs simultaneously, conducting progressive investigate even though also juggling courses, internships, and numerous demanding extracurriculars. By means of it all, she has continued to go after her fascination with RNA, a tiny, considerably unassuming molecule that even so has a significant influence on practically each and every facet of our biology. Nyeo, who has demonstrated herself to be similarly multifaceted, appears to be in particular effectively-suited to the examine of this remarkable biomolecule.
Whilst Nyeo’s perform in the everyday living sciences keeps her hectic, she finds time to nurture a numerous established of other passions. She took a course on experimental ethics, is working on an first screenplay, and has even picked up a small in German. Considering the fact that her sophomore 12 months, she has also been a component of the New Engineering Schooling Transformation (NEET) software, which delivers learners with multidisciplinary interests the option to collaborate throughout departments. Through NEET, at present directed by professor of biological engineering Mark Bathe, Nyeo has been capable to go after her desire in bioengineering exploration and join to a huge group of students and professors. Most lately, she has been functioning in just the Bathe BioNano Lab to use DNA to engineer new resources at the nanometer scale.
Nyeo hopes to put her competencies to use by pursuing a occupation in biotechnology. She is currently minoring in administration and dreams of one day commencing her possess business. But she doesn’t want to depart academia behind just yet and has started functioning on programs for PhD courses in biology. “I originally arrived in imagining that I would just go straight into the biotech field,” Nyeo clarifies. “And then I understood that I really don’t dislike investigation and that I truly get pleasure from it.”
As portion of her present-day work in the lab of professor of biology David Bartel, Nyeo investigates how viral an infection has an effect on RNA rate of metabolism, and she normally finds herself applying her computational techniques to enable postdocs with their information examination. In simple fact, one of the factors Nyeo has most appreciated about functioning as a student researcher is the chance to join a network of people today who offer just one a further with help and advice.
Nyeo’s willingness to help others is perhaps the aspect of her character that greatest satisfies her to the examine of RNA. Over the earlier handful of decades, scientists have learned an increasingly substantial number of therapeutic utilizes for RNA, such as cancer immunotherapy and vaccine development. In the summertime of 2022, Nyeo worked as an intern at Eli Lilly and Firm, exactly where she aided discover opportunity targets for RNA therapeutics. She may continue to examine this region of study when she at some point enters the biotech field. In the meantime, nevertheless, she’s finding ways to support folks closer to dwelling.
Due to the fact her initial yr, Nyeo has been a element of the MIT Biotech Group. When she initial joined, the group experienced a pretty small undergraduate presence, and most activities ended up geared towards graduate college students and postdocs. Nyeo instantly focused herself to producing the group much more welcoming for undergraduates. As the director of the Undergraduate Initiative and later on the undergraduate scholar president, she was a main architect of a new seminar collection in which MIT alumni came to campus to teach undergraduates about biotechnology. “There are a great deal of complex conditions related with [biotech],” Nyeo describes. “If you just appear in as an undergrad, not figuring out what’s occurring, that can be a bit daunting.”
In between her analysis in the Bartel lab and her operate with NEET and the MIT Biotech Team, Nyeo doesn’t have a ton of no cost time, but she dedicates most of it to earning MIT a friendlier environment for new students. She encourages investigation opportunities as a UROP panelist and has labored as an associate advisor considering the fact that her junior calendar year. She can help very first-calendar year students select and sign-up for classes, works with faculty advisors, and supplies ethical aid to college students who are emotion overcome with solutions. “When I arrived [to MIT], I also didn’t know what I required to do,” Nyeo clarifies. “Upperclassmen assisted me a good deal with that system, and I want to pay it ahead.”