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KES pupil selected for prestigious RSI summer programme at MIT

Congratulations to Aaryan (Divisions) who has been accepted to the Research Science Institute (‘RSI’) Summer Programme in Boston this summer, which is run by the Center for Excellence in Education.

The fully-funded six-week programme will grant Aaryan the opportunity to conduct research with world-renowned Professors at both Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Harvard University. He is amongst 80 secondary school scientists that have been selected globally.

We recently sat down with Aaryan to find out more about this exciting opportunity:

What sparked your interest in science and research?

With both my parents working in the medical field, I was exposed to science from an early age. My father first sparked my interest in science through museum trips and talks, whilst my mother inspired my journey to research as our house was often littered with medical literature she had contributed to.

My passion for chemistry truly blossomed in my Lower School years. What makes chemistry fascinating to me is its marriage of precision and theory, which intuitively seem difficult to co-exist. The evolving and expanding nature of the field continuously keeps us on our toes. 

What experiences have you had prior to RSI?

Work experience at King Edward’s School is strongly encouraged and something I have benefited from greatly. Following arduous outreach and applications, I was lucky enough to intern with the Nuclear Engineering team (specialising in Thermal Hydraulics) at the UK’s Nuclear Headquarters and similarly with the Nuclear Chemistry team at Sizewell B Nuclear Power Plant.

Following that, I also had the opportunity to work with the Nanochemistry Research team at the University of Birmingham, under the guidance of a supportive Professor, who has mentored my research journey so far.

What aspects of the Research Science Institute programme are you looking forward to the most? 

Conducting research in the United States is a dream of mine. RSI is a research-intense environment, with unparalleled access to world-renowned Professors, some of whose papers I have read when doing my own research. I am excited by the prospect of drafting and executing a detailed research plan, and then being able to present my findings to the scientific community around me. 

Outside of research and learning from invited guest speakers, I relish the opportunity to experience dorm-life, access MIT’s libraries and laboratories and participate in the scientific zeitgeist around me.

How will participating in RSI help you in your research journey?

Attending RSI will be a milestone in my research journey. The exposure of experts and peers from diverse backgrounds and across a myriad of disciplines will help me delve deeper into an area of expertise and build my scientific network of future collaborators. As a secondary school pupil, RSI will give me the agency to produce independent publishable research, under the supervision of Professors. 

How has your time so far at King Edward’s School influenced you?

I have received plenty of support from my teachers across all subjects. To name drop one or two… Dr Follows, my IB form tutor, and Dr Arico, one of my former Chemistry teachers. Both have been pivotal in my scientific endeavours offering continuous guidance and mentorship.

KES has provided me with opportunities to challenge myself in a variety of co-curricular activities outside of the lab and I have had the honour of representing KES in squash, tennis, Symphony Orchestra, Schools Challenge and Model United Nations. 

However, the school’s unwavering support in ‘The Wilkins- Franklin Workshops’ (a science partnership initiative I founded) has been the biggest influence on me over the past year. These student-led workshops aim to support primary school pupils at an early stage in their scientific journey, through interactive experiments in laboratories, with the aim to inspire the next generation of scientists.   

The school has acted and continues to act as a vehicle for which I am able to achieve my ambitions.

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