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Jasmine
Akoto

Cohort 6

Hometown: Zebulon, NC

Major: Biology, with minors in Chemistry and Neuroscience

Research Interest: Genetic and neuronal mechanisms underlying developmental brain disorders



CSS was a program I stumbled across, and now I cannot imagine my life without it. A program dedicated to increasing the number of students who look like me into STEM fields was a dream come true.




WHAT DREW YOU TO THE CSS PROGRAM?

CSS was a program I stumbled across, and now I cannot imagine my life without it. As a minority student who has always been interested in STEM, reading, and learning about what CSS does for its scholars was fascinating to me. A program dedicated to increasing the number of students who look like me into STEM fields was a dream come true. I knew that this program would not only provide me opportunities but long-lasting relationships that I will always value.


WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR FAVORITE CSS EXPERIENCE SO FAR?

CSS has become my family. What I value the most about CSS is the people within. They are the ones who have supported me, encouraged me, and even motivated me to become the person I am today. Meeting every one of the people within this program is truly the best experience that I will always cherish.


HOW HAS CSS SHAPED YOUR CAREER GOALS?

CSS has opened many doors for me over the years that has allowed me to grow and seek out the opportunities around me. I have built up connections with many in STEM fields, and this has allowed me the chance to reach out and ask questions that I would have never had the courage to do before. CSS does a great job of getting its scholars involved in research. Due to CSS, I was able to join my first lab and participate in a summer research program at John Hopkins University in the summer of 2020. Because of CSS, I have a deeper understanding of the part I play in STEM and where I can go in the future.


WHAT IS YOUR PRIMARY RESEARCH INTEREST?

My interest in research involves understanding the genetic and neuronal mechanisms that underlie developmental brain disorders such as autism. By understanding these mechanisms, effective treatments can be developed in the future. I am currently in Dr. Patrick Sullivan’s lab, which focuses on understanding the molecular genetics of schizophrenia, major depressive disorder, eating disorders, and autism. My future project will focus on the prolonged effects of antipsychotics on gene expression and chromatin structure in schizophrenia.


AWARDS AND HONORS

  • CSS Distinguished Scholar Award
  • Renwick Academic Achievement Award
  • ABRCMS 2020 Outstanding Poster Award
  • Dean’s List