With nearly 15 years of dancing under her belt, Kimberly Piper had hopes of one day joining the Boston Ballet – that is, until she took ABE during a high school AP biology class. Kim, not only an accomplished ballerina, but avid runner, had always been curious about science, although that mainly came from wondering what caused her various sports injuries.
Kim recalls her ABE teacher as having a "contagious enthusiasm" for biotech and an "admirable leadership style" – traits Kim credits for driving her passion for genetics and research, and making biotech make sense. Kim is currently studying at the University of Massachusetts at Lowell, and hopes to be accepted into an M.D. – Ph.D. program in the future.
What did you enjoy most about ABE?
I was amazed and thoroughly impressed that we got to use professional grade equipment, and that high school kids were given the opportunity to ‘go for it’. Some of the equipment was nicer than what I use at college!
Talk about the hands-on lab experience. Did you feel like a real scientist? How did ABE compare to your experience in other science classes you’d taken?
I definitely felt special participating in the ABE labs. It was a lot better getting to use equipment you only read about in other classes…because of ABE we actually got to try it out!
Did ABE help you look at science in a new way? Did you have a sort of ‘ah-ha’ moment during the labs? Tell me about it.
Before I got to participate in ABE, I didn’t fully understand what biotech was. I’m a visual learner so seeing the results of my experiments come to life and line up with everything I was trying to learn and understand…it all came together. By the end of my senior year, biotech was for me!
Did ABE help prepare you for college? Your current position? How?
During my freshmen year of college, the fall semester transition was hard, but I was the only one who’d already done similar experiments and knew what I was doing. All the genetics stuff my professor talked about in class, I’d already learned from ABE. It was right where I left off in high school.
What was your biggest takeaway from ABE?
ABE gave me confidence with my major, classes and the road ahead. If I didn’t have confidence in myself or biotech, my life would definitely not look the way it does now.