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A Mother’s Cancer Inspires a Student Scientist

Sthuthi Satish

Sthuthi Satish

By Mandy Carr, NYAS Staff

Sthuthi Satish can’t remember when she started dreaming of being a doctor. What she does remember is being seven years old and looking at her mother’s medical charts showing stage two cancer. Her mom underwent surgery and beat cancer and Sthuthi's love for surgery began.

The 15 year-old, who attends Bangalore International School in India, admits to not understanding the complications of surgery then, but saw the possibilities of it. Today, she hopes to become a neurosurgeon. “My love for the brain is rather recent,” she said. “I am fascinated by the fact that the brain controls pretty much all conscious actions in the human body, and yet we know so little about it.”

Sthuthi had few opportunities to join STEM activities before participating in the New York Academy of Sciences’ Junior Academy program. She worked on many challenges focusing on sustainability and aerospace. She worked with other high school students from across the globe as part of the winning team for the Human-Wildlife Challenge. Sthuthi was concerned that no one was addressing the negative effects of solar panels on wild birds.  Her team believes that infrared sensors and speakers producing beeping noises at 3 kHz can deter birds from landing on  solar panels.

During her first year in The Junior Academy, she saw a posting on Launchpad, the Academy’s virtual collaboration platform, about getting involved in a Girls in Science panel at the third annual International Day of Women and Girls in Science event at the United Nations Headquarters in New York City. She stayed in touch with one of the organizers, HRH Princess Dr. Nisreen El-Hashemite, Executive Director of the Royal Academy of Science International Trust which lead to an invitation from Dr. El-Hashemite to chair a panel at the 2019 event. This is also how she became a Girls in Science Advocate for the Royal Academy of Science. Additionally, Sthuthi is one of the administrators on the Girls in Science 4 SDGs International platform, a program Dr. El-Hashemite made possible.

For Sthuthi it’s all about priorities. “I always believe that if I have enough time to watch Netflix, then I definitely have time to work on something I love,” she said. Sthuthi hopes to attend college either in the United States or Sweden.