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Summer Student Grace Hansen Wins Scholarship to Attend the Youth Assembly Conference in New York City
Grace Hansen, a summer undergraduate student at Burke Neurological Institute (BNI), recently won a scholarship to attend the Youth Assembly Conference in New York City in August. Grace is one of five people from the United States chosen for this scholarship. She was nominated based on her highly impressive personal statement, application, and submitted lesson plan addressing a pressing global issue outlined by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
As a truly global event, the Youth Assembly is encouraging young adults between the ages of 18-32 to Dare to Reshape the World through learning about changemaking and leadership as well as collaborating with young people from a variety of countries. Throughout this three-day event, the conference will cultivate a global network of young leaders and changemakers through exchange, education, action, and impact. From August 12 to 14, Grace will take part in thematic discussions, skill-building workshops, and special networking events to empower the next generation of leaders.
Grace shares that, “I am very excited to attend the Youth Assembly Conference as this will be a wonderful opportunity to meet young leaders from around the world and learn from their own experiences and backgrounds. I am hoping to improve my leadership skills to become a better captain for my lacrosse team at school, as well as a more defined leader and changemaker among my peers and in my community. I am hoping this conference will provide me with the tools to confront challenges and make a true difference in my community as well as spark action on a more global scale alongside a new network of global leaders.”
As a senior at the University of Massachusetts Lowell, Grace is majoring in biology and is captain of her division one lacrosse team. This summer as a scholar in our Summer Science Program at BNI, Grace has worked in the Gibson Lab on literature reviews, researching the enzyme a-ketoglutarate dehydrogenase complex (KGDHC), which is a key component of the Citric Acid Cycle. The decline in activity of this enzyme plays a role in many neurological disorders, including Alzheimer's disease, which is what makes uncovering the dynamics of this enzyme extremely important. Grace also received hands-on laboratory training under the mentorship of Dr. Dianna Willis and Dr. Wilfredo Mellado of the Willis Lab.
Grace tells us of her summer experience at BNI “I have loved being a summer student at BNI so far! Dr. Gibson is a fantastic person to work with and I am very lucky to have him as a mentor. He has exposed me to so many new career options within the neuroscience field and his knowledge and expertise in the field are very inspirational. Additionally, my laboratory mentors, Dr. Mellado and Dr. Willis, have helped show me what it is like to work in a laboratory and how exciting and rewarding research can be. The community of people at BNI are all very welcoming and each week I look forward to our seminars where I can hear about new research being done around the world. My summer at BNI has truly changed my views on neuroscience and I am extremely grateful to all the people who have mentored me throughout my time at BNI.”
We wish Grace the best of luck at the conference and are proud of her nomination and summer achievements at BNI!