Budding Young Scientist Gets Real-World Experience

Edison Scholar says summer internship plus $40,000 scholarship is helping him pursue environmental sciences.
Jun 24, 2015 2:10 PM ET

Edison's Online Newsroom

When Isai Rea’s friends ask him what he is doing at his summer job, the 18-year-old just shrugs and says, “I play with mice.” It's easier than trying to explain his lab studies looking into whether the combination of nicotine and high-fat diets are contributing to heart disease.

Isai is interning this summer at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science in South Los Angeles as part of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases’ STEP-UP research program. The program is aimed at giving underrepresented aspiring scientists experience in lab research.

At the end of the summer, he will go to Washington, D.C., where he will present a paper on his findings at the National Institutes of Health.

Six months ago, he wasn’t sure where he would go to college. It wasn’t until he was awarded a $40,000 Edison Scholars scholarship to help pay for his tuition and other college costs that Isai made up his mind to attend UC Berkeley. He hopes someday to become the head of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Read full story on Edison's Online Newsroom.

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