10 Weeks in 5 MinutesStephany Perez-Sanchez gives us an inside look at what it takes to prepare a five-minute Ted Talk to encapsulate her summer experience as a Huang Fellow.
When given the assignment of preparing a Ted Talk, I was at a loss for how to narrate my summer experience in only five minutes. I learned so much, not only with my research but also with the questions that arose during this period. With our seminars and speakers, I was able to think further about pressing issues in our society. Throughout this program, I have realized the importance of scientific communication to the public. Our goal is to produce innovative and effective ideas that can be implemented in society. Well, in order to do this, science must be delivered in an explicable manner. Each of us had been working on vastly different topics and while we had ten weeks to understand our own research, this was an opportunity to understand everyone else’s.
Sitting in the Bullpen, I was excited to listen as each of the fellows eloquently spoke about a wide range of topics. They delivered Ted Talks on air pollution, systemic examination of global health, resilience through setbacks, disparities rooted in socioeconomic status and ethnicity, and much more. Each person was able to give us a glimpse of what they had been working on this summer, but there was always a greater lesson to it all. In just a short ten weeks, we were all able to focus on what the implications of our research were on a larger scale. Yes, our experiments would one day contribute to the scientific field as innovations, but what impact did our research have on society? The basis of this entire program really shined through everyone’s speeches. Not only were these Ted Talks an opportunity to explore our capabilities in scientific communication, but they were also a reflection of every meaningful experience we had during this program. We didn’t only pipette this summer or run statistical analysis; we experienced the inexplicable feeling of social responsibility. What did we have to contribute to the community? How could we work towards improving the current disparities encountered?
These thoughts lingered in my mind, and from these Ted Talks I saw that my peers felt the same, but we couldn’t have done it on our own. It is thanks to the mentorship we received through our bench mentors, PIs, program directors, and guest speakers. It is also thanks to the amazing selection of peers. Within our cohort, we had the liberty to express our ideas and count on each other to contribute to meaningful and productive conversations. Within a mass of undergraduates in the class of 2025, we found a community that I know has the same goal: how can we change the world? Despite our different aspirations, we all have similar outlooks on life. Our Ted Talks were more than a five-minute oral presentation; they were an expression of our meaningful and fulfilling experiences. I’m thankful for the ten weeks I was able to experience in the Huang Fellows Program. It fueled the passion many of us have and it showed the possibilities we can make happen.
Stephany Perez-Sanchez, Huang Fellow ’25
Stephany is a first-year undergraduate from Lancaster, SC intending to pursue a major in Neuroscience.