As an international student from Mumbai, India, I relocated to New York City for graduate studies because of the boundless opportunities it offers. New York and Mumbai are cities that never sleep, with nonstop access to lights, people, and food!
I came to New York wanting a unique experience that combined biotechnology and entrepreneurship, which is exactly why I chose the M.S. in Biotechnology Management and Entrepreneurship at the Katz School. The curriculum integrates real-world projects, providing an important platform for learning and the chance to make mistakes without fear of failure. From the very beginning, I have had access to professors who deeply understand both the biotechnology and entrepreneurship fields, offering invaluable insights that are already giving shape to my professional career.
Professor Robert Friedman has been especially helpful, providing career advice and facilitating an interview for a summer internship, and Dr. Rana Khan and Natasha Shtraizent went above and beyond in their efforts to connect me with potential internship opportunities at Yeshiva University and the startup FREEZENT Biological Solutions, respectively. Their willingness to lend their time and expertise to support my career aspirations is a testament to the dedication of the faculty.
In addition to my studies, I’m a research assistant under Dr. Margarita Vigodner, professor of biology at YU’s Stern College for Women, studying the effect of SUMOylation on the germ cells of mice and how it affects the growth and development of mouse sperm cells. In her lab, we use ginkgolic acid and siRNA to inhibit SUMOylation. This helps us to validate some of the identified targets, which play an important role in spermatogenesis, as well as glean insights into how SUMO controls mechanisms in germ cells. We used gel-electrophoresis and western blotting techniques to observe the results of the inhibition of SUMOylation on the targeted proteins. Not only have I received academic credit for my work with Dr. Vigodner, but I’ve also profited just from working beside an experienced and well-respected researcher.
Outside the lab, I serve as vice president of the Katz School Graduate Student Association (GSA). In this role, I’m able to enhance the campus experience for my peers and contribute to a vibrant Katz School culture. Last fall, the GSA organized three events aimed at facilitating meaningful connections between students, strengthening their networks, and increasing the size of their social circle. These events provided a much-needed opportunity for students to unwind and de-stress.
Personally, one of the unexpected joys of attending the Katz School is being exposed to New York City’s rich cultural heritage and iconic attractions. So far, I’ve visited Times Square, the Brooklyn Bridge, Central Park, and St. Patrick’s Cathedral, and there are several more destinations on my bucket list that I plan to visit before I graduate.
My advice to incoming Katz School students is to seize the opportunities for personal and professional growth that the school provides. Approach every new experience with enthusiasm and a desire to learn, and you will be amazed at the doors that will open.
My time so far at the Katz School has been nothing short of life changing. After I graduate next year, I plan to become a life-sciences consultant, assisting biopharmaceutical companies with the launch of new products. I hadn’t considered this line of work until Professor Friedman impressed upon me the importance of taking risks in pursuing my passion. I now feel confident in the direction my life is taking and I owe much of this to the skills, experiences, and relationships I’ve gained at the Katz School.
Check out Sayanto’s work at the Katz School Symposium on Science, Technology, and Health: Thursday, May 11, 2023 from 1 to 4 p.m. at 245 Lexington Ave, New York City. Learn more and RSVP: bit.ly/40obCQ0.
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