Vasiliki Chioti was a 2017 STEM Scholar, who received the B.A. Rudolph Foundation STEM scholarship to do research under the supervision of Dr. Louise Charkoudian at Haverford College.

Where are you from?
I am from Greece! 

Where did you go to school? What did you study?
I studied Chemistry at Haverford College, a liberal arts college located just 20 minutes from Philadelphia.

What was the best part of your internship?
During my time at the Charkoudian lab, I studied protein interactions in natural product biosynthetic pathways using site-specific vibrational spectroscopy. With my mentor’s guidance and my fellow lab-mates’ support, I made significant progress on my project and, most importantly, I grew intellectually, socially, and emotionally. My summer internship grew into my senior thesis and culminated with a poster presentation at the annual meeting of Experimental Biology in San Diego. Managing a project from start to finish and getting to share research findings with the scientific community was immensely fulfilling.

What lessons did you learn that you would like to pass on to future interns?
My summer internship taught me the importance of perseverance and patience. Most research projects take months to complete and invariably involve extensive troubleshooting. We are all aware that achieving a goal takes a lot of effort, but some of us forget that our efforts might not necessarily be recognized along the way towards this goal. We should therefore patiently keep trying and remain committed despite any setbacks.

What are you doing now?
I am currently a graduate student at the Chemistry Department of Princeton University. I am exploring other facets of natural product research under the supervision of Dr. Mohammad Seyedsayamdost.

What do you hope to be doing in 10 years?
As a graduate student in STEM, you are often called upon to choose between academia and industry, often neglecting alternative career paths. It is hard to tell where I see myself in ten years, but I would certainly be interested in designing and managing health-related research projects.

What is your favorite book and what are you reading now?
I just finished reading The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, a book that has inspired me to embrace the uncertainty of life and pursue my goals, or, as the author puts it, my “Personal Legend.” I would strongly recommend reading Mindset: The New Psychology of Success by Dr. Carol Dweck, which invited me to approach life –including graduate school– with a growth mindset and a burning desire to learn.

Tell us a fun fact!
While I do not have a driver’s license, I am still an extremely opinionated passenger that claims to know everything about driving!

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