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Kaela Makins, 2015 Nyah Fellow, Selected for Summer Cancer Research Program in Hsinchu, Taiwan

2015 Nyah Fellow, Kaela Makins recounts her summer internship experience as a junior cancer researcher at a biological research program at National Tsing Hua University in Hsinchu, Taiwan.  Kaela is currently a sophomore at Hamilton College in Clinton, New York as a Posse Foundation Scholar.

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I worked with a small lab of 5 technicians in the Power Mechanical Engineering department to do biological research. For the main premise of my research, I am focused on utilizing magnetic nanoparticles and a heated treatment of hypothermia in order to target and kill cancerous liver cells. Other members of the lab explored other types of cancerous cells in order to test if nanoparticles and hypothermia is a viable option for cancer treatment. I learned new lab techniques, such as how to culture and transfer cells, analyze cell viability using cell assay, finding literature to support my research, and much more.

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Along with growing academically, I also immersed myself in Taiwan’s rich culture and learning more about its history. Since I have been learning Mandarin for the past 5 years, this experience has given me the opportunity to practice my speaking and listening skills on an everyday basis with my lab partners and locals. On the weekends, I enjoyed traveling around the small island to explore different aspects of Taiwan’s culture, learning about its traditions, and spending time with friends that I have made at the university! One of the most interesting aspects  of my trip so far was that I had the opportunity to experience a very Taiwanese traditional holiday, the Dragon Boat Festival. At the festival, I had the chance to spend time and speak to a lot of the locals, where they taught me the story behind the festival and its purpose! I remain grateful for my initial explore to international travel through my fellowship with the Nyah Project. It truly sparked my interest in global learning opportunities.



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