Undergraduate Sneha Jariwala came to UC Santa Cruz shortly after her sister passed away from leukemia. Motivated by this tragic loss, Sneha has used her time as a student to participate in cancer activism, fundraising, and research. Her project, “Molecular Classification of Pediatric High-Risk Leukemias Using Expression Profiles of Multimodally Expressed Genes” recently received one of the Physical and Biological Science Division’s prestigious Chancellor’s Awards.
Please tell us about your experience at UC Santa Cruz.
I entered UCSC a few months after my sister passed away from Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, and UCSC was my place to heal. I joined Colleges Against Cancer and was able to express my ideas about cancer activism and grow as a cancer activist. I also joined Treehouse Childhood Cancer Initiative, a research group that allowed me to develop my passion for childhood cancer research. I graduated in Winter with a BS in Molecular, Cell, and Developmental Biology!
What are your research interests and goals?
My research interests are in childhood cancer, and I hope to one day become a pediatric oncologist to help children battling cancer and their families.
What have been some of your accomplishments during your time here at UC Santa Cruz?
I received a grant from Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation worth $5,000 to study high-risk pediatric leuekemias. I also received a Dean’s award and Chancellor’s award on my project, titled “Molecular Classification of Pediatric High-Risk Leukemias Using Expression Profiles of Multimodally Expressed Genes.”
What advice do you have for incoming UC Santa Cruz students?
I would encourage incoming students to gain confidence in small settings (friend groups, classes, clubs, etc) so that being confident in larger settings (jobs, research) becomes easier. It’s hard to believe in yourself sometimes, but finding a good support system is the key to making yourself feel empowered and worthy of doing more. Many of my achievements are accredited to my friends and family supporting me in my decisions and pursuits, so finding that support system is very important!
Congratulations to Sneha and all of our 2021 Chancellor’s and Dean’s Award winners! For a full list of winners and descriptions of their projects, please visit the Dean’s and Chancellor’s Awards website.