If you are wondering what impact the SSTP program has on a student, ask Dr. Men-Jean Lee (right), who attended SSTP in the 80s, and is now an associate professor at Indiana University School of Medicine in the Department of Obstetrics and Gynecology and has an NIH-funded research lab of her own. Dr. Lee returned to The University of Iowa this summer to attend the poster sessions from the 2012 SSTP group, including the poster generated from the research by her son Alessandro Del Priore.
Not only did Dr. Lee attend SSTP, so too did her siblings . . . Dr. Chong-Chia Lee went on to earn an MD/PhD in Neurobiology at the University of Chicago and is a neurosurgeon at the Kaiser Medical Center in Seattle, Washington. Next in line was Ming Lee Peterson who graduated from the Massachusetts Institutes of Technology (MIT) and earned a Masters in Bioelectrics from Northwestern University. The youngest Lee sibling is Richard Lee, who also graduated from MIT and is a computer engineering consultant in the oil industry.
Opportunities like SSTP are invaluable in the academic and social development of bright students. Dr. Lee shared that after completing 3 summers at the SSTP, she kept in touch with the research scientist and laboratory associate who helped her plan her research career as a physician scientist when she was accepted into the Honors Program in Medical Education at Northwestern University. Some of the methodologies and research skills she learned at the SSTP helped her through medical school and beyond. The SSTP opens a whole new world to impressionable high school students to inspire the next generation of physicians and scientists for our nation.
Now, Alessandro is an honors student at Regis High School in New York City, the same high school which graduated Dr. Anthony Fauci, Director of the NIAID at the National Institutes of Health. Alessandro was truly inspired by his SSTP experience in the laboratory of Dr. Chun-Fang Wu and hopes that his drosophila research can be continued as he progresses through his academic training.