Christine Darko

Photo Credit: Simon Goodacre

January 25, 2018

Helen Wong | Graduate School of Arts and Sciences

Even as a middle schooler, Christine Darko knew that she wanted to explore the sciences. When she was a high school senior, her advisors recommended Brandeis due to its strong reputation in that field, and she joined the class of 2015. Having graduated with a double major in Biology and Psychology, Christine has become a DEIS scholar pursuing a master’s degree in Biotechnology.

“I haven’t yet found a specific research topic of my own,” says Christine. “However, I’ve always been interested in diabetes research, and outside of that, in the field of immunology as a whole. Next year, I’m looking to gain more experience in that field by working in an immunology lab or company that focuses on immunology.”

When Christine was five, she and her family moved from Ghana to Worcester, MA, where she has remained ever since. Her interest in science was fostered by her participation in the Goddard Scholars Program, an accelerated magnet school in the Worcester public school system. She says that the opportunities the program afforded her helped shape her experiences with and her love of science.

Christine has found the department to be friendly and welcoming in a field that is academically rigorous. “The faculty I’ve had the chance to work with really care about my scientific development and are here to help me achieve the goals I’m working towards,” she says. “The friends that I have made through the biotechnology program have acted as great mentors, offering support when I need that extra push to keep going.” The biggest difference between this program and her undergraduate education has been the ability to explore her academic interests in depth. “I was definitely timid as an undergraduate,” she says, “but now I feel like I have the confidence to really delve into different things that I am interested in.”

Christine meets regularly with the other DEIS scholars in her cohort as well as Madeleine Lopez, the administrator of the DEIS program. “I feel like I have an extra support system,” she says. “Being able to talk to Madeleine and know that she’s there to provide extra help or just listen when I’m having a stressful week is very reassuring. Also, my cohort is definitely aware of issues outside of the academic realm, so gatherings always have thoughtful conversations and introduce me to new topics that I may not have previously been aware of.”

Christine hopes that in the future, she’ll be able attend medical school or work in medical research. Although the field can be challenging, she recommends that students interested in Biotechnology should approach the program with confidence. “There will be times where things do not go how you want, but you have to remember that science is about trial and error.”