miRcore Blog

Bioethics Through The Lens of Several Philosophies

By  Julia R. | May 5, 2022


   miRcore has instilled in all of us the importance of Science, Compassion, and Collaboration. There are several different philosophies that can explain how to best go about carrying out such values, but they aren’t all the same. The branch of ethics provides several different answers to biological and social problems – and it’s often hard to find a philosophy that can perfectly answer every question.

   The philosophy called Utilitarianism emphasizes the importance of the greatest good for the greatest number. It is a mathematical approach to making decisions that factors in aspects of good like fruitfulness, duration, intensity, and more. Utilitarianism often is applied to the ethics of vaccination, in which vaccine distribution is concerned. However, one thing Utilitarianism rejects entirely is consent – the “greatest good for the greatest number” leaves this factor out, creating some questionable decisions.

   The philosophy of Deontology is a strict rule-based code. It asks humans to create a “categorical imperative” in which any action that could be deemed wrong if put on a worldwide scale should never be done. For example, lying. If everyone simply accepted the act of lying on a global scale, the world would be in chaos. Therefore, no one should lie ever – even “little white lies” that seem mostly beneficial. However, this may result in paradox when creating the perfect overall moral code. Deontology is often applied to the healthcare system, in which strict rules are laid out for doctors in relation to patients in order to create professional standards.

   Virtue ethics, pioneered by Aristotle, is a philosophy that weighs actions through the perspective of a moral agent rather than by laying out a set of rules. As individuals, Virtue Ethics applies only to one person – the person considering a dilemma. It relies on the identification of personal virtues (of which there is no predetermined list), which are character traits that someone values. For example, Virtue Ethics applies to healthcare workers as individuals, rather than systematically like Deontology does. 

   These three examples of Ethics branches have little overlap, which makes it very hard to choose one to stick to. When navigating through the world as a scientist, it is important to consider decisions through multiple lenses of thought.

2021-2022 Disease of Focus

By  Amrita K. | January 22, 2022


     As things start returning to normal, it is important to acknowledge the aftermath of the Covid-19 pandemic. One of the biggest public health concerns following the pandemic is mental health. According to https://www.bu.edu/brink/, depression in adults jumped “from 8.5 percent before the pandemic to a staggering 27.8 percent.” Currently, in 2021, the rate has been “climbing to 32.8 percent and affecting 1 in every 3 American adults.” The pandemic has affected everyone’s mental health in one way or another, and it is important to understand these effects in order to overcome them. This year, the MVP disease of focus is mental disorders. Students have been and will continue to conduct research on various mental disorders, such as depression, bipolar, schizophrenia, and more. This allows students to gain a better understanding of such a complex topic that has become more prevalent post-pandemic. So far, students have chosen datasets based on their group’s chosen disease and have been identifying differently expressed genes and common functions and pathways between these genes. The next step is to connect the functions and pathways and create a hypothesis using the genes from their research. Through this research, students will be able to gain a stronger understanding of certain mental disorders. Furthermore, this research will give them the resources and insight they need in order to help the community, which has been heavily affected by mental disorders due to the pandemic.

miRcore Research Abstracts

By Pooja K. | March 30, 2021


      The annual miRcore research conference is the culmination of research completed by MVP members throughout the year. In preparation for the conference, members work together to write a research abstract, which outlines their research progress in a concise, organized, and efficient manner. This year, multi-year miRcore members also had the opportunity to expand on their opioid addiction abstract. The abstract writing process not only teaches members about proper abstract formatting, but it allows them to collaboratively write with a team, which exemplifies the core miRcore value of “Collaboration”. Groups spend significant time working together to edit their abstracts and often ask for peer feedback prior to submission. Additionally, during the conference, miRcore members and guests are able to hear from several research groups chosen to give oral presentations. Research groups interested in being selected as potential oral presenters at the conference submit their abstracts prior to the final abstract deadline to be evaluated by professors. Following the conference, all submitted abstracts are displayed in the miRcore high school research magazine, which showcases the scientific rigor and curiosity demonstrated by miRcore members and also allows family members to read about the research that was conducted! The abstract writing process can be time-consuming and surprisingly challenging, given the 500 word limit, but it proves to be both an invaluable and gratifying experience for all MVP members! Furthermore, by encouraging members to practice quality abstract writing, miRcore highlights an essential step of the scientific research process: effectively communicating research findings to a broader audience.

The COVID-19 Vaccine

By Amrita K. | March 30, 2021


      It’d be surprising if you hadn’t heard of the COVID-19 vaccine yet, as about 25% of American adults have received at least one shot so far. But while many are getting the vaccine, there are some who want to know more about the different kinds. As of April 2021, there are three approved vaccines in the United States- Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson&Johnson.

      The Moderna vaccine is very similar in composition to the Pfizer vaccine. Both are mRNA vaccines that deliver messenger RNA to your cells. These bits of genetic material are used by the COVID-19 virus to produce harmless spike proteins. So, once your cells receive these instructions, they will begin to produce the spike proteins, and your body will create an immune response since it will be alerted that the proteins are foreign material. Both the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require two doses. For Moderna, the doses are given four weeks apart, and for Pfizer, the doses are given three weeks apart.

      The Johnson & Johnson vaccine is quite different. It only requires one dose- a fact that has concerned people everywhere. But this isn’t because the vaccine is less effective- it’s just made differently. The J&J vaccine, or the Janssen vaccine, is a viral vector type that uses a harmless adenovirus. Genetic material used to make COVID-19 spike proteins is located inside this virus. Once administered, the viruses will enter your cells and teach them to make the spike proteins, and the inflammatory response is induced as a result.

      Many have voiced their concern over the Janssen vaccine’s initial “77.4% effectiveness” rate by comparing it to the 95% of the Pfizer vaccine. The Pfizer vaccine, however, takes two doses to maintain this level of immunity towards the virus, and therefore three weeks overall; the Janssen vaccine only requires a two week waiting period for the effectiveness rate to rise considerably. What’s more, the Janssen vaccine has a confirmed 100% effectiveness rate when it comes to preventing hospitalizations and deaths, which is the most important aspect of getting a vaccine.

      There are other approved vaccines across the world, most notably the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine. It’s most similar to the Johnson & Johnson with an adenovirus viral vector method. It uses DNA rather than RNA to hold the genetic material of the spike proteins. It also requires two doses given eight to twelve weeks apart. There has been some recent controversy about possible negative side effects that the vaccine may have, but the data is currently more correlative than causational, as far as scientists can tell.
In short, every vaccine is different, but all are incredibly beneficial to gaining immunity to COVID-19. It’s important to stay informed, and even more important to get vaccinated.

Student Teaching at MVP Meetings

By Ankita C. | March 30, 2021


      One of miRcore’s events during the main session meetings is member presentations. Every week, a student volunteers to create a google slides presentation and talk to miRcore volunteers about anything related to COVID or about the process of analyzing datasets. These presentations build many great qualities in students who present, including collaboration, student drive, engagement, and leadership.

      These presentations can have multiple people working and presenting one presentation. This allows students to work together to bring something to the entire miRcore group. They present a topic to present during the main session which has around over 100 students. This encourages students to work with each other as a large group and speak in front of one another. This also creates a student driven environment. Students choose the topic, what they want to explain, which points to cover, etc. The students teach students in this part of the meeting. It creates more of a student driven program and helps shift the focus of this program onto the students. It allows more engagement, which is difficult to achieve, especially online. Members are able to get directly involved with the program. Finally, these student teaching sessions build a sense of leadership in the students and can help them get over the well-known fear of public speaking.

miRcore’s Motto

By Ankita C. | March 12, 2021


      “Science, Compassion, Collaboration!”

      After every meeting, the miRcore Volunteer Program (MVP) members unmute and shout our motto. Obviously, we practice science in this biomedical organization, however compassion and collaboration are shown during the meetings themselves.

      In the weekly Saturday meetings, miRcore dedicates a segment of the main meeting to student teaching. This is essentially when one or two students take over and go over a concept of the research project with a prepared google slides presentation. This provides miRcore students a chance to be compassionate and help a large group of people. They dedicate their time and effort into making a presentation for us all, which is a perfect example of the high levels of compassion in miRcore.

      After these presentations, miRcorers go into breakout rooms with our research groups. These groups consist of roughly 4-5 high school students and one college student to help teach and guide the group. About half the entire meeting time is given to these breakout groups. In these groups we collaborate and share our thoughts, questions, and answers to one another. This part of the meeting creates small communities within miRcore to create a more collaborative environment. This is incredibly important online, because talking to other miRcore members allows high engagement from each member.

      Our motto encourages us all to practice science in a way that is compassionate and collaborative.

How COVID-19 Has Affected the Opioid Epidemic

By Amrita K. | January 16, 2021


        This year, miRcore’s annual disease of focus is the COVID-19 virus. With a current worldwide case count of about 94 million and a death toll of 2 million, it’s safe to say the coronavirus is the world’s most pressing concern. But while America turns its attention towards the pandemic, a concerning question is left unanswered: what about the epidemic?
        For the 2019-2020 year, we at miRcore studied the opioid epidemic- and with the coronavirus, the epidemic has only worsened. According to the American Medical Association, 40 states have reported rising numbers of opioid overdose-related deaths. With risk factors like a decline in mental health and increases in stress rising, the opioid epidemic only grows into the country’s biggest and deadliest elephant in the room.
        While anyone can be at risk, opioid addiction targets the unemployed, impoverished, and those who suffer from mental illnesses. Unfortunately, the pandemic’s adverse effects on the economy has left a large portion of Americans unemployed. According to the NIH, long-term unemployment increases risk of mental health by twofold.
        It gets worse- in the past year, more minorities were newly unemployed than white Americans. Furthermore, African-Americans and Hispanic Americans were far more likely to be hospitalized due to COVID-19 complications than non-Hispanic white Americans. As a result, the opioid epidemic is now targeting more minorities than ever before.
        The American Medical Association continues to push for more legislation to combat the opioid epidemic. The federal government has passed laws that make it less difficult for doctors to treat patients with substance abuse disorders during the pandemic, but these laws are likely not being utilized to their fullest potential.
        Although we must focus on stopping the pandemic, it’s important to pay attention to the epidemic that only grows stronger in America. By lessening stigma and educating ourselves, we can work together to fight the opioid epidemic. 


20 Questions with MVP, Mori O.

Mori Ono

By Nishant D. | November 17, 2020  

If you have ever been to a miRcore fundraising event, chances are you’ve met Mori. If you’ve ever seen the miRcore talent show, chances are your ears have been graced with Mori’s exceptional musical talents. This year’s trumpet and vocal rendition of “Take Me Home, Country Roads” was no exception. (The kazoo-sounding part where he played only through his trumpet’s mouthpiece deserved a chef’s kiss.) Neither was the previous year, where he played a single trumpet note for over a minute. What happens behind the scenes with Mori Ono that could result in such a masterful hold of the arts and life in general? Read on to find out more about one of miRcore’s largest personalities…

1. How did you get involved with miRcore?

My sister was a miRcore member, so I remember going to the research conference back in 2016. I got directly involved in miRcore by attending the R programming camp the summer after my freshman year, and I joined the GIDAS club at my school the beginning of my sophomore year.

2. How long has your laptop been used for research in miRcore?

I don’t have exact numbers, but to give you an idea of how long it’s been used, the introductory miRcore presentation features my sister with the very same 2012 Macbook Pro.

3. Outside of miRcore, what are some of your favorite extracurriculars?

Mock Trial! Every year we get a brand new case and the competitions are basically a slimmed-down version of a real one. I primarily play lawyer, but this year I also played a rather amusing expert witness as well. Another activity I’m pretty heavily involved in is the Space Settlement Contest. It’s pretty open-ended, which ends up with me going down rather extensive rabbit holes of research.

4. How have you been keeping yourself occupied in quarantine?

I spend a lot of time studying for AP Chemistry and Calculus BC. There was a lot I needed to self-study, but I enjoyed learning about both topics quite a bit, so that kept pretty occupied. At this point, I’m spending most of my time on end-of-the-year stuff and writing a few more articles for my school magazine/website, but I’ve found some time on a variety of hobbies. I’ve even taken up making bubble tea myself!

5. Has quarantine given you the chance to read any good books or movies?

Yes! A few of the movies I’ve seen are Knives Out, Stand and Deliver, and Contagion. The timing for watching the last one is a bit ironic, admittedly. As for books, I read the sci-fi classic Solaris, and I’m slowly working my way through Catch-22.

6. What has your favorite part about high school been?

I think the opportunity to get to work with a lot of different people. My social circle had always been small, but by getting involved in the various activities in high school, I feel like it’s expanded significantly. In the process, I’ve learned and gotten to do so much!

7. Are you excited about your final year of high school next year?

Senior year is a little scary to me. It seemed to be in the distance all throughout high school, but now it’s already here! With that said, I’m excited for the chance to cap off my time in high school and enjoy it while it lasts.

8. What do you think your future beyond high school holds?

Currently, what I hope to study after high school is aerospace engineering, and maybe Science, Technology, and Society (STS). Primarily, I’m hoping to work in something related to space settlement, but plans can change.

9. Do you have big plans for the next miRcore talent show?

I do, but I’m keeping it a bit of a secret! That said, it may or may not involve overtone singing…

10. You love space and astronomy. What kickstarted that?

A book on planets and stars was the first I was truly interested by, and I became obsessed with the topic. Eventually, that snowballed into reading more and more about it!

11. What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?

Despite my willingness to get involved in some of the sillier miRcore talent show acts, I’m not particularly extroverted. For the most part, I’m somewhere in the middle of being extroverted or introverted, but that changes plenty depending on the situation.

12. What has been your go-to snack these past few months?

A particular brand of vanilla marshmallows in the cupboard. Readily accessible, tasty, and never gets sticky in the heat.

13. If you could have any one skill, what would it be and why?

The ability to instantly know how to do something, the reason being is that I’d save a lot of time and get more done. That said, the best uses for any ability are the ones that come up unexpectedly!

14. Once quarantine ends, what is one of the first things you will do?

Meet up with some friends downtown. We’ll probably take the route of playing at Pinball Pete’s, grabbing a lunch or dinner, and then getting ice cream or bubble tea.

15. What websites do you visit the most?

Reddit, Wikipedia, and the Communicator (my school’s website/magazine). They’re the main sites that show up when I open Google Chrome, so I pretty much click them instinctively.

16. Why are you interested in performing scientific research?

Scientific research interests me because I get the opportunity to contribute to our collective understanding of the world. Additionally, I’m always excited about the ways that knowledge can be applied to create all kinds of solutions.

17. Do you have any role-models?

Yes! Thinking of them encourages me to be my best self as much as possible.

18. How have you been staying calm during this pandemic?

By making a to-do list each day and week, and splitting my tasks into categories of priorities. It helps me focus on what I really need to get done. If I don’t get everything done, I remind myself of what I was able to get done!

19. What is your advice to other high school students who may be stressed out during quarantine?

I think the best advice I can give is that it’s always ok to take a break. One thing is to enjoy the weather these days: it’s something I should be doing more as well!

20.How would you describe yourself in a brief sentence?

Someone who picks up a haphazard range of trivia, brainstorms many, many ideas and sometimes gets them done.

Class of 2020 Feature

By Rachel B.


Congratulations to the Class of 2020! We are so proud of your hard work, leadership, curiosity, and compassion over the past 4 years. We wish you all the best of luck as you begin the next stage of your lives!

Isha S.

High school/hometown: I go to Sage Creek High School in Carlsbad, CA Years in miRcore: 2 Favorite part of miRcore: My favorite part of miRcore is doing really interesting research with people who live science as much as I do. Activities outside of miRcore: Outside of miRcore I’m involved in Science Olympiad, Academic League, and Model UN. I play tennis and love music and volunteering. One thing you couldn’t live without: I can’t live without The Great British Baking Show and boba. Post-secondary plans/Where do you see yourself in 10 years?: After high school I’m going to UC Berkeley to study cell and molecular biology and I hope to get my PhD and become a scientific researcher.

Isabella I.

High school/hometown: I’m from Clarkston MI and go to Clarkston High School (now I go to zoom high school from my couch lol) Years in miRcore: 2 Favorite part of miRcore: My favorite part of MiRcore is being able to learn more about genetics and coding but also the ability to teach others. I really enjoy helping out others with research and also love the ability to discover new things MiRcore gives me. Activities outside of miRcore: I am on the varsity figure skating team, volunteer at a local hospital, am a part of science club, a Girl Scout, IB class president, and I also dance. One thing you couldn’t live without: I can’t live without cheese ( I put it on everything) Post-secondary plans/Where do you see yourself in 10 years?: Following high school, I will be attending the University of Michigan majoring in either informatics or molecular biology and minoring in business. Following my undergrad, I hope to attend medical school and become a surgeon while also pursuing my research interests.

Eleanor L.

High school/hometown: Huron High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan Years in miRcore: 3 Favorite part of miRcore: Being able to apply my scientific knowledge to education and advocacy. Activities outside of miRcore: I’ve played piano and violin for roughly ten years. I also compete in Ethics Bowl and Ocean Bowl and volunteer through my school’s National Honor Society. One thing you couldn’t live without: Taiwanese turnip cake Post-secondary plans/Where do you see yourself in 10 years?: I will be attending Columbia University in New York this fall.

Rhea C.

High school/hometown: Huron High School in Ann Arbor, Michigan Years in miRcore: 3 Favorite part of miRcore: I love connecting with students from all over the country—they never fail to impress me with their enthusiasm and drive! Every person is so different, but we all share an interest in science and making a change. Activities outside of miRcore: Dancing, cello, Science Olympiad, HOSA, cooking/baking/eating, thrifting, hammocking, napping One thing you couldn’t live without: The Bon Appetit Test Kitchen has consistently quality, entertaining content. Gaby is the cutest person alive!! Post-secondary plans/Where do you see yourself in 10 years?: 10 years is a really long time—I have no idea what I want to be doing yet, but I definitely want to learn a lot and travel a lot. I’m super excited to be on the East Coast in the fall at Yale; thinking about maybe neuroscience and art history, but keeping an open mind for sure!

Nikhita D.

High school/hometown: Huron High School – Ann Arbor, MI Years in miRcore: 3 Favorite part of miRcore: Meeting and collaborating with people from all different schools and communities! Activities outside of miRcore: I play the violin and love to dance! I’m involved in my school’s orchestra program as well as GIDAS and BPA (Business Professionals of America). I also love to take naps, play with my puppy, and can often be found watching movies with my sister in my free time! One thing you couldn’t live without: I definitely couldn’t live without chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. Post-secondary plans/Where do you see yourself in 10 years?: I’m pretty indecisive, so ask me that question again in two months and I’m sure my answer would be different. As of now, I’m considering a few different options as to what I want to study in college but I’m definitely excited for this next chapter in my life!! I know that whatever I’m doing in the future, it’s going to involve collaborating with and helping others.

Nina V.

High school/hometown: Community High School, Ann Arbor, MI Years in miRcore: 2 Favorite part of miRcore: The people! And the summer camp snacks. Activities outside of miRcore: Band, GIDAS, working in a research lab, volunteering, activism. One thing you couldn’t live without: Chocolate chip cookies that are chewy in the middle and crispy at the edges <3 Post-secondary plans/Where do you see yourself in 10 years?: College and then I have no clue! Financial stability would be nice.

Hanan M.

High school/hometown: I attend Canton Preparatory High School in Canton, Michigan Years in miRcore: 3 Favorite part of miRcore: My favorite part is the opportunity of independently pursuing our research, rather than having to rely on an experienced mentor, it allows us to develop our own skills and understanding! Activities outside of miRcore: Outside of MiRcore, I am heavily involved in activities like HOSA, Key Club, NHS, and enjoy learning new languages! One thing you couldn’t live without: One movie/book series I can not live without is Harry Potter! Post-secondary plans/Where do you see yourself in 10 years?: In the next 10 years, I see myself as a practicing physician!

Anisha S.

High school/hometown: Belleville High School/Belleville Years in miRcore: 4 Favorite part of miRcore: My favorite part of miRcore is the research process and connecting with highschoolers/the community in a fun, enriching way. Activities outside of miRcore: I am the President of the Science Olympiad team, a captain of the robotics team and swim team, a member of the National Honor Society, clarinet section lead of concert band, and an avid reader. One thing you couldn’t live without: I couldn’t live without avocado toast. Post-secondary plans/Where do you see yourself in 10 years?: I’m going to the University of Michigan and will major in electrical engineering.

Maria F.

High school/hometown: University Liggett School Years in miRcore: 3 Favorite part of miRcore: I enjoy studying and learning about different diseases each year. Activities outside of miRcore: When I was 11 I founded my own non-profit literacy peer-to-peer tutoring program called the G.R.O.W. (Generate Real Opportunities and Wonder) Tutoring Program. I have donated thousands of books to organizations and schools across the Detroit area through my annual book drive that I host at my school. I also tutor for two other local organizations. This year is my seventh year as a reading mentor for Soar Detroit and my second year tutoring for Center for Success. I volunteer at the Michigan Science Center, teaching a variety of STEM topics to the public through interactive activities and I also work with the Science Center’s exploration lab for kids. I also participate in pageants. Within recent years I have competed in the Miss USA/Universe and Miss America system. I am also on my school’s robotics team, active in my school’s theater program, and on student council. One thing you couldn’t live without: I love the movie Black Panther. Post-secondary plans/Where do you see yourself in 10 years?: My personal philosophy is to contribute relevant and valuable knowledge to the world. As a tutor and mentor, this is something that I already do and is my life passion. I believe that through STEM I can accomplish this and bring the philosophy into fruition. In 10 years, I hope to be working on my PhD for biomedical engineering to make that happen.

Nikhila A.

High school/hometown: Skyline High School in Ann Arbor, MI Years in miRcore: 3 Favorite part of miRcore: My favorite part of miRcore is being able to work and interact with other eager, science-loving students and learn together! Activities outside of miRcore: I love to stay active by playing soccer or running. I also play the violin, and I was part of my school’s Symphony Orchestra. Additionally, I played an active role in the Skyline Student Action Senate by organizing school events and fundraisers. One thing you couldn’t live without: Grey’s Anatomy!! Post-secondary plans/Where do you see yourself in 10 years?: Next year, I will be attending the University of Michigan, where I plan to study biology. I am on the pre-med track, and I see myself going to medical school and residency in the future!

Soorya J.

High school/hometown: Pioneer High School in Ann Arbor, MI Years in miRcore: 3 Favorite part of miRcore: Learning research techniques and meeting like-minded scientists! Activities outside of miRcore: I do a style of Indian classical dance known as Bharatanatyam. I’ve been learning it for about 10 years and now help my teacher with younger students and participate in national competitions. I also research in a lab at the University of Michigan, a paper of which I recently found out was accepted to the Frontiers in Microbiology journal! At Pioneer, I’m the President of Student Council and play flute in Symphony Band. In my free time, I like to draw and play basketball. One thing you couldn’t live without: I love mangoes and strawberries. Post-secondary plans/Where do you see yourself in 10 years?: I’m going to be attending Case Western Reserve University to study Systems Biology on the pre-med track. In ten years, I hope to be pursuing a degree in medicine! And hopefully living somewhere like NYC or LA.


20 Questions with miRcore President, Dr. Inhan Lee

By Rhea C. | May 27, 2020


Dr. Lee is our amazing President who makes the miRcore world go round. We love her for always being enthusiastic, excited, and most of all, selfless. With these 20 questions, she shares a bit more about herself, and her bubbly nature never fails to shine through!

1. Where and how did you grow up?

Seoul, Korea. Metropolitan area where soil is rare. When I was a fourth grader, I was briefly lost in the middle of a busy downtown Seoul underground crosswalk (yes, people cross underground so that pedestrian crossing doesn’t stop cars—kind of a busy place) while transferring city buses after I missed the school bus. Before getting on the impossibly crowded bus in the morning during middle school, I felt blessed to walk on the rare unpaved sidewalk with grass to the bus station from my house. I loved to visit a palace when there were not many people there (like me and a handful of other visitors) and enjoyed well-brushed dry soils on the ground during high school. Bright city lights, car sounds, and building blocks were normal and I really enjoyed looking at the moon even (may be because) with such background drops.

2. What is the origin or meaning of your name?

Han is the character the same for all my male generation in our larger family. My grandfather made the name not considering I am a female (to clarify: he wasn’t a feminist). So, if Koreans see only my name, they think I am a male. I love the meaning, though: kind (one of the Confucian ideals) person. Around middle school, I was determined to live up to my name as much possible.

3. What is a fun memory with Jeehan?

When my youngest sister went to college, the three of us decided to go out together. We helped each other get made up, find dresses, and went to a restaurant in popular college streets. Nobody knew we were sisters. Three of us together, anytime, nothing can stop our laughter.

4. Did you know what you wanted to study when you went to college?

Yes. Physics.

5. What drew you to Ann Arbor?

I had a chance to learn biology (wet-lab) after my Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering.

6. What’s your favorite food?

Fruits and seafood (less prepared is good, like dried squid, steamed crab, raw fish), rice and kimchi

7. What’s your favorite dessert?

Shaved ice with fruits and cream

8. What are your favorite restaurants in Ann Arbor?

Bewon, Cardamom, Real Seafood

9. Where else have you lived in the world?

Seoul, Utah

10. What’s your dream/favorite vacation?

Nature: water and rocks, beach with mountains, desert, dark sky, 90%. Then 10% of modern lights, good beds, and nice restaurants for comfort.

11. Who’s your favorite BTS member?

V, Jimin, RM, Yoongi, Jungkuk, Jin, J-hope. Order changes all the time depending on the mood.

12. What’s your favorite BTS song?

Airplane part 2. For morning dance: Boy with luv (no matter what, I start to smile 10 sec after dancing with it)

13. Do you cook a lot at home?

Nope. I was excused from cooking when I started miRcore. I’ve been thinking of starting to cook again for a good while but implementing that has been delayed. It’s hard to give up a privilege.

14. What’s your favorite thing to watch on TV?

No TV in the house, but I guess Netflix can be counted as a TV. Korean drama – aching love story.

15. Do you like shopping? If so, where do you like to shop?

I hate shopping… except… I love to go to IKEA. I can literally be there for the entire day.

16. Do you have pets or do you want pets?

No, I have many children and my husband is allergic. Other factor: I think I have a trauma seeing our dog dying with rat poison when I was around ten.

17. What’s something you are grateful for today?

Taking a break today. Not working, not intensely planning, but having mindset to pleasantly stroll and respond to these questions. (It was Memorial Day)

18. What’s something new you’ve learned recently?

Summer camp research was published in a science journal. Intercalators can be used for fluorescence quenching molecules.

19. What are some of your favorite memories with your family?

My husband is an early riser. I was still in bed half sleeping, and I heard a sound. My door burst open, light and short running steps, another door burst open, two jumping boys on my bed, one left another right. Holding both giggling boys in my arms: the best sound memory. Now, almost 15 years after, no more giggles or jumping hugs, but firm stress-relieving hugs.

20. Do you have any life advice for high schoolers?

When I was in 11th grade, I noticed that the next building’s middle school boys had a club to build a radio. I wished I could do it instead of my mandatory class where I sewed (I was in the girls’ school). I built my first (and last) radio in college during a physics lab using expensive equipment. But I could have started to make a radio when I first learned about the radio club. I was confined in a mindset of a fixed system (now it’s all changed). Breakout from fixed thinking. You have the freedom and knowledge to explore something good. Don’t be intimidated just because others say it’s difficult or different. Be prepared to stop if it doesn’t work. You just learned that it’s not for you.


20 Questions with Rhea C., MVP Vice President

Our self-described “dependable, indecisive, eclectic” VP for the 2019-2020 year.

By Eleanor L. | May 7, 2020

  Perhaps you knew that Rhea is our miRcore Volunteer Program Vice President for the 2019 – 2020 year, but what about her hobbies and favorite food? Read on to find out more about our favorite eclectic (her word) VP.

1. How did you get involved in miRcore?

I joined GIDAS freshman year with some friends, and then attended the Computational Biology Camp that summer. I met some really inspirational and fun people, so I wanted to join miRcore that fall!

2. What are some of your other interests?

In high school, I spent a lot of my time dancing, playing cello, and participating in science clubs. Outside of that, I love thrifting, cooking/baking, and going to art museums.

3. In school, what is/has been your favorite class?

I loved Humanities, which surprised me as a mostly STEM kid. So I really urge younger students to try new things outside of their comfort zone!

4. Describe yourself in three words.

Dependable, indecisive, eclectic.

5. What are some of your favorite books?

Lately, I’ve been loving Toni Morrison—Song of Solomon and The Bluest Eye are so beautifully written.

6. What is one thing people would be surprised to find out about you?

Maybe that I feel super uncertain about what I want to go into in the future—many different things interest me, and that’s scary.

7. If you could visit/revisit any place in the world right now, where would you go, and why?

I really want to visit my cousin in Australia and meet her newborn baby. I haven’t seen her in years, and have always really looked up to her. Plus, Australia seems to be full of sunshine and good food.

8. What are some of your favorite songs?

Anything by Mac Miller. My friends and I can also be found jamming to Yung Gravy.

9. What are your future educational and career plans?

I’ll be studying something at Yale University for the next four years, maybe neuroscience and art history. I haven’t figured out what I want to do after that just yet.

10. What are two ways you stay positive?

Since quarantine started, I’ve tried to jot a few things down that I’m grateful for each day. Eating dinner with my whole family and enjoying dessert together has also been a happy ritual.

11. What is one thing you miss from before quarantine?

I really just miss the dynamism—having different activities and people to look forward to.

12. What is one thing you’ve found more time to do during quarantine?

Actually appreciating the weather and enjoying time outdoors. I’ve discovered so many trails near my house that I never knew existed for the past, what, 8 years?

13. Do you have any pets and/or siblings?

Both, a fat cat and older brother.

14. What is one thing you learned from high school?

Not to beat myself up if things don’t go as planned; nobody is perfect!

15. What is one thing you are excited for in college?

The freedom to “shop” all kinds of really niche classes.

16. What is your favorite food?

A good New York bagel slathered with fresh cream cheese.

17. If you could have an unlimited supply of one item for life, what would it be?

Cottage cheese—I only discovered it somewhat recently, but now I’m obsessed. It’s so versatile but also delicious on its own! For non-food items, maybe black Uniball Signo pens.

18. Which season is your favorite season, and why?

Spring, for the perfect balance of sunny days and peaceful rainy days. Also, for lack of mosquitos.

19. What inspires you?

I have a lot of role models, and they’re all so humble, enthusiastic, and one-of-a-kind. I try to learn from their qualities, but on my own path.

20. What advice would you give younger miRcore volunteers?

Surround yourself with genuine people, but be strong and independent too. Don’t let self-doubt and negativity get in your head!    

5/9/2020 – 20 Questions with MVP President, Eleanor L.

You all know Eleanor. You all love Eleanor. She’s a seemingly omnipresent, omnipotent, and omniscient god in the realm of miRcore. Have a question about your research progress, GIDAS club, or even WiFi troubleshooting? She’s got an answer within seconds. But have you ever asked her about herself, as a human outside of miRcore? Perhaps she’s an enigma to you, or even a little bit intimidating. In this spin-off of the popular 73 Questions series, she answers all of your burning questions. You’re sure to learn something new and maybe surprising about the President of the miRcore Volunteer Program 2019-20.

1. How did you get involved with miRcore?

I found out about miRcore summer camps through U of M’s Women in Science and Engineering initiative during middle school, and I joined my school’s GIDAS club freshman year.

2. Describe your childhood in 3 words.

Fun, curious, food-loving

3. Who are you quarantining with, and how’s that going?

My family! It’s going pretty well, and I’m very thankful that we have enough of the necessities of life and are all healthy.

4. What did you want to be when you were younger? (And has that changed?)

I never knew for sure what I wanted to be when I was younger, although I was definitely very fascinated in many different things (astronomy, history, programming, biology) . . . and that still goes for today! What’s changed is that I have learned that this is normal, and completely okay. The randomness of life creates exciting new possibilities.

5. What’s your go-to breakfast?

Bacon and eggs

6. Do you have a favorite movie?

The Martian.

7. What’s your proudest accomplishment?

Am I old enough to talk about my accomplishments yet? Having (hopefully) helped spread knowledge and enthusiasm for learning, and supported others’ learning in my school community and miRcore will be the proudest accomplishment of my (relatively short) 18 years of life!

8. What’s your favorite thing to bake?

Cream puffs, but they take an unholy amount of butter and eggs.

9. What (or who) will you miss most about high school?

I will miss my teachers and classmates, who’ve helped me survive AP Chem Lab and college apps; are generally kind, smart, and funny people; and are now all extremely supportive through quarantine.

10. Do you have any pet peeves?

Improper capitalization of titles (Title Case is Underappreciated).

11. Where is the most memorable place you’ve visited?

Siena, Italy; the entire city is basically frozen in the Medieval-to-Renaissance Era (the architecture, I mean).

12. What is your favorite type of cuisine?

I do really badly with choosing a single favorite of any thing, but some of my favorite restaurants are Cardamom, Noodles and Company, Mediterrano’s, and Asian Legend.

13. Are you a morning or night person, and why?

I am a night person. My circadian rhythms say so. (Another reason is probably that I love reading and watching movies.)

14. What’s something unexpected about you?

I’m a very introverted person by nature. I don’t naturally like to put myself in public; forcing myself to leave my comfort zone in this respect has been one major challenge for me during high school. And I do think that I’ve somewhat overcome my own inhibitions about this.

15. Where do you hope to live someday?

See answer to #4 . . . I haven’t figured this one out either, but I definitely hope to see more of the world before settling down!

16. Name some favorite songs or artists.

I’m a huge classical music nerd, and my favorite composer changes every couple months. Currently, it’s Ravel.

17. What new things are you excited about in college?

I’m excited about moving to the “big city” and meeting people from across the country and the world!

18. What were you most looking forward to as a second semester senior?

I’m definitely looking forward to spending more time with my family before going to college.

19. What, currently, are your plans for next year?

I will be attending Columbia College at Columbia University, in New York City.

20. Do you have any words of advice for younger MVP members?

Don’t be shy about trying new things, and don’t underestimate yourself!