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校园生活 2022年4月8日

Helen Danielson ’22: Prioritizing Your Passions

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摄影:Jeff Baker

When it came time for Helen Danielson ’22 to select a college, her criteria were straightforward: She wanted a school that offered both a first-rate science curriculum and the opportunity to continue one of her lifelong—albeit unrelated—passions: Dance. 

选择史密斯是显而易见的.

科学和数学 are very important to me, and I knew that was where I wanted to focus my career,” says the 工程专业. “But 跳舞 has been a huge part of my life since I was very young—I wanted to keep doing it!” Deftly juggling all that accompanies an engineering course load, 丹尼尔森还获得了 跳舞.

“If you know that you have more than one interest that you love, don’t give up on pursuing both of them,” Danielson advises incoming students. “Don’t feel like you have to prioritize one over the other at 史密斯.”

Danielson demonstrates how two vastly different interests can complement one another. “Dance informs my engineering through the skills it has taught me,”她说. “我从舞蹈中学到了尊重, 自律, 的决心, 可靠性, that reaching my goals takes persistence and effort, and that progress doesn't always work in a straight line.”

At the heart of Danielson’s academic career is a keen interest in biomedical research—something she’s been determined to gain experience in.

During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, when 史密斯 shifted to remote learning, Danielson returned to her native 费尔班克斯, 阿拉斯加, 她住在一个史密斯圆荚体” with two fellow 工程专业s. It was during this time that she worked as a research assistant in a biochemistry lab at the University of 阿拉斯加, 费尔班克斯.

“I loved that experience,” says Danielson. “It allowed me to continue working in a lab I first became acquainted with through a 实践格兰特.” Danielson credits her ability to obtain hands-on research experience at a time when it was exceedingly rare with her acceptance into a number of graduate programs. It also helped her secure a fellowship awarded by the National Science Foundation 研究生 研究 Fellowship Program.

回到校园, Danielson has been working as a research assistant in associate professor of engineering 莎拉·摩尔的生物分子实验室, including finishing up an honors thesis on engineering cancer cell-targeting proteins for drug delivery mechanisms. “The goal is to be able to attach a drug to these proteins for more targeted cancer treatment,”。丹尼尔森解释说.

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Helen Danielson dancing in the 2020 史密斯 Senior Dance Concert, 2020. Derek Fowles拍摄

Danielson has also been working on a 跳舞 thesis—a nine-minute piece titled “Flurries and Storms.”

“I want to showcase the simultaneous beauty and power of something delicate with the patterns of movement evolving in space and time,”她说.

In the fall, Danielson will begin a Ph.D. program in biomedical engineering at Brown University. While she’s looking forward to the experience as a whole, she’s especially excited about continuing her research.

“I’m not sure if I want to eventually go into academia or have a more industry-focused career,”她说. “But I definitely want to continue with my engineering research—there’s so much potential with molecular engineering in that it gives us a lot of tools for solving problems related to disease.”

Of her time at 史密斯, Danielson will miss the camaraderie the most. “史密斯 is so focused on community,” she reflects. “There’s such a big emphasis on learning collaboratively—whether it’s in the sciences or in something like 跳舞—and that has been extremely beneficial to me. I hope to be able to continue to foster that throughout my Ph.D. 程序和超越.”