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Student Profile - Isaac Appiah ’13

Isaac Appiah ’13, a native of Ghana, tells us about the research he did earlier this summer through an Imoigele P. Aisiku ’92, M.D., Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship.

Isaac AppiahWhere are you from?

I’m from Ghana, but now I live in Leominster, Mass. Through my uncle, who lives in Rhode Island, my mother had the privilege to travel to the United States of America, the place where every single Ghanaian I knew thought was next to heaven. Eventually my sister and I joined her. I immediately realized how hard my mother had been working, from one job to the other, which was affecting her health, just to keep my sister and me in school back home in Ghana. When I left Ghana, I was ranked fifth in my high school class. I immediately enrolled in Leominster High School to complete my high school education.

Why did you decide to come to Worcester State University?

I decided to come to Worcester State due to the fact that it was very cost effective, had a very diverse community, and a welcoming atmosphere. Also during my student orientation, both old and new students were willing to offer help when I needed it. I also liked that the Academic Success Center, throughout the orientation, made it clear what to expect and how to go about things in the school to have a successful academic career. This and much more made me decide to come here and I have not regretted it.

What are you currently studying?

I’m studying biology with a minor in chemistry.

You are one of two Aisiku Fellows doing research this summer. What are you researching and what do you hope your research accomplishes?

Yes, I am very glad and appreciative of the opportunity to partake in research this summer. I am very humbled. This is genetic research looking into the annotation of various Drosophila genes, especially in the species erecta. Most people know them as fruit flies. Through this, we hope to see which genes are located on the 2nd 3L control region of the chromosome and also be able to predict its function in relation to the highly annotated genes of Drosophila melanogaster. It is a continuation of the research done by the Washington University in St. Louis, Calif.

What does it mean to be able to do in-depth scientific research like this while you’re an undergraduate student?

First, I will like to express my sincere gratitude for such an opportunity to Dr. Aisiku and everyone who makes it possible for students in the science fields to do research during the summer. This research means a great deal to me in terms of what I want to accomplish in my life. Having this experience goes a long way towards helping me pursue a career in medicine, understand the concepts behind most of materials that have been taught, and gain personal experience participating in the research.

Will you have an opportunity to present the results of your research?

Yes, I will have the opportunity to present my results in a presentation after the completion of the research. And due to the collaboration between this genetic research under Dr. Daron Barnard and the genomic center of Washington University, upon completion, the findings will be published together with other research of the same type in a peer-reviewed scientific article.

What do you want to do as a future career?

I want to pursue a career in medicine and become a surgeon. I want to better my life and benefit society. I also want to help children. I think that it is really important to appreciate things that people do, especially for you. I believe life is what I make it; therefore, I have chosen the path that can lead into the medical field. I am not giving up on it! Hopefully one day I will be able to say I have accomplished what I was sent into this world to do.

What surprised me most about Worcester State was the sense of community. It wasn’t and still isn’t just a place to get education. It’s also a place where people care about the accomplishments and success of students. And this sense of community ranges from the faculty to the students, of which I am very glad to be part of.

Are you involved in any extra-curricular activities?

Yes, I’m on the men’s soccer team and I’m a tutor in the Academic Success Center. Soccer is a game of passion. Joining the Worcester State Men’s soccer team was one of the most important decisions I made during my college career. Through soccer, I was able to mature as a person in terms of dealing with different people. Through tutoring, I have been able to help others with the subjects they are having difficulty with and also to help students figure out what style of learning and studying will make them successful. Being part of this organization has made me realize how important it is to share what you have as a person to benefit others who are in need. I’ve also realized that no matter how small your contribution is, as far as it is improving someone’s life and academics, it is needed. It has also given me many opportunities to improve my communication skills.

Department of Biology

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