Katie Tsai was a STEM Scholar in 2015 when she interned for Haverford College’s Charkoudian lab (biochemical research in natural product synthesis).

Where are you from?
Merion Station, Pennsylvania

Where did you go to school? What did you study?
I attended Haverford College, where I majored in chemistry with education minor and biochemistry concentration.

What was the best part of your internship?
My B.A. Rudolph sponsored internship with the Charkoudian lab was my first experience working full time and independently in a scientific research lab. Besides gaining experience with the technicalities of lab work and reading scientific literature, I learned in a broader sense to work in a team with my fellow lab mates and research coordinator. I enjoyed the challenge of working independently in a research setting while also learning to work in a team. Looking back, those skills were incredibly valuable to learn!

What lessons did you learn that you would like to pass on to future interns?
Make use of the connections and resources around you, especially those provided by the B.A. Rudolph foundation. In general, act on all of the opportunities that excite and interest you.

What are you doing now?
I am a Fulbright English Teaching Assistant in Taitung, Taiwan. I teach 3rd-6th grades at Feng-Yuan elementary school and Feng-Li elementary school. I co-teach all of my classes with a local English teacher where classroom instruction is in both English and Chinese. Through working as an English teacher in Taiwan, I’ve learned so much about teaching, classroom management, the Chinese language, and Taiwanese culture.

What do you hope to be doing in 10 years?
I hope to have a master’s degree in education and to be a certified, working Chemistry and/or Biology teacher!

What is your favorite book and what are you reading now?
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot! The book documents the story of Henrietta Lacks, an American woman whose cells (HeLa cells) launched the age of tissue culture. It’s such a critical story for understanding the history of biomedical research and bioethics. It’s also just plain interesting!

Tell us a fun fact!
My new favorite food is stinky tofu, a special kind of street snack unique to Taiwan! It’s “stinky” because it’s been fermented. You really can smell it from far away!

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