Marist Senior Completes Internship at Joslin Diabetes Center

Biomedical Sciences Major Ange Uwimana Sees Her Future in Research

To Ange Uwimana, Marist was the perfect place for a science student. As an international student originally from Kigali, Rwanda, she has always loved everything about research. That is why she decided to apply for the Harvard Stem Cell Institute summer internship in the Kulkarni lab at the world-famous Joslin Diabetes Center.

Ange Uwimana, Marist Class of 2017Uwimana spent 10 weeks living on Harvard’s campus in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and working in Boston. Along with receiving a stipend and housing, she got the chance to work with other undergraduate students, some of them from other countries like Sweden, Scotland, and Colombia.

At Marist, Uwimana majors in biomedical sciences with minors in philosophy and math and after taking a physiology course, she realized her interest in diabetes.

During her internship, she studied molecular characterization and the involvement of the Leptin hormone in “induced pluripotent stem cells.” This hormone is linked to obesity and diabetes.

Uwimana knew since high school that she was interested in science. “I took biology and chemistry and I realized that I liked understanding how things work on a deeper level,” she explained. She was involved in a peer program called Bridge2Rwanda, which prepared her for the SAT and applying to colleges. She knew that she wanted to study science and after consulting with her advisor, she learned about Marist and its science program, so she decided to apply.

While at Marist, Uwimana has done other research, including studying the microbiology of the Hudson River. In terms of extracurricular activities, she is involved in Relay for Life, Campus Ministry, and Ambassadors. Although English is not her first language, Uwimana has found it easy to fit in at Marist.

With her unique background, she can speak three languages: her native language Kinyawanda, French, and English. French was taught to her during first grade and she became fluent in English when she took a gap year after high school.

“I really appreciate being an international student,” she said with a smile. “It feels unique. Being culturally different and learning from others is fascinating. It’s helped me integrate more easily into American culture.”

Now, she said, Marist has become her home because of the “atmosphere” and the people. “They’ve been so helpful, so understanding, and so nice to me,” she said. “I’m going to cry when it’s all over.”

As she continues her senior year, Uwimana is now looking into applying to medical schools. Some of the places on her list include Ivy League schools, Mount Sinai, and Michigan State. For her, it is all about research and she hopes to become an endocrinologist one day.

She credits Marist with helping her become the “full person” that she is today.

“I never lost my identity, although it was somewhat challenging,” she admitted. “Instead, it’s opened my mind and made me feel like a global citizen.”

Written by Adriana Belmonte '17

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