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Rising Senior Tests Science Skills at Prestigious Lab

Prospect Hill Academy rising senior Alana Thurston interned at the Broad Institute over the summer to find direction for her scientific interests.

Patch Whiz Kid of the Week: Alana Thurston, 17

School: Prospect Hill Academy Charter School 

Accomplishment: Thurston completed the Broad Institute's summer internship program

How she did it: After working in a laboratory, which is affiliated with Harvard and MIT, for six weeks this summer, Thurston said she could see herself becoming a research scientist. 

With the help of a mentor, Thurston researched the way different molecules interacted with hemoglobin, a protein that transports oxygen in the blood of vertebrates. She sought to find a molecule that could bind to and change the makeup of the protein with the hope that some day, another scientist could create a drug that would treat people with blood diseases. 

"It was a huge opportunity for me," she said. "I learned so much there." 

When school starts, Thurston said she planned to share her research and experience at the laboratory with the biology teacher and her classmates. 

Thurston's parents are both artists, but she said she's long loved science. 

"I don’t know if this is me rebelling against them, but I definitely took a different turn," she said. "Looking into things at a small level has always been so interesting to me."

The rising senior said she would like to attend Tufts University. 

"Any college I would apply to would have to have a good research opportunities for students," she said. 

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