[M]y name is Meilinn Tram and I am currently majoring in biochemistry. As long as I can remember, I have been very passionate about math and sciences. I have always seen knowledge as a thrilling thing to have. If you understand what you learn, you start to question it. Questioning leads to testing and experimenting. And thinking outside the box helps you become an innovator—you obtain unique ideas and insights, and you discover things that are mind blowing. Knowledge does wondrous things for everyone. It helps people better their lives in many amazing ways. Without knowledge, we wouldn’t have the technology we have today, especially in the health field.
Two years ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Vietnam and China to meet my distant relatives. It was quite a culture shock for me because for the first time, I was exposed to extremely ill individuals. I discovered the cause: improperly disposed medical waste needles, which are extremely hazardous to leave lying around.
This observation spurred me into researching sickness and medical waste disposal in other countries. I narrowed it down to researching vaccines, and eventually my degree in biochemistry. I found that third world countries don’t have a government regulated system of disposal. Therefore there is a constant reuse of needles from medical waste. To reduce waste and prevent diseases, I wanted to expand the longevity of available vaccines by storing them in a more stable, dry form such as a pill or capsule.
I actually have a cousin who was paralyzed from the hip down due to a contaminated syringe injection. It could have been prevented had the doctor used a new sterile needle. Things could have even ended worse. For example, millions of people have contracted HIV or hepatitis A, B, or C because the disease was still on the used needle. Now my future career goal is to find ways to produce and deliver medications that reduce both cost and risk for patients. I want people to benefit from my research by living healthier and longer lives.
I have recently been accepted into the McNair program which allows me to fulfill some of my dreams of doing research. I am currently researching dry spraying vaccines into more stable forms to ship out to third world countries. My biggest obstacle is balancing my work, school, and personal life . I take 16-18 credit hours each semester, work part time at Manzano Mesa Community Center as a youth leader, privately tutor mathematics to a high school student, and tutor for the Center for Academic Program Support (CAPS). I also volunteer around the community partaking in events hosted around the state and volunteer at Veterans Affairs. I put all my effort into everything I set my mind to and never give up in what I believe. I set my life goals very high but keep them attainable.
We are proud to announce Meilinn Tram is one of the current JustJobs Scholarship finalists. Vote for her essay (Facebook ‘Like’ and other social media sharing options in left column), click the ‘star’ just above comments section below, and/or leave comments of support to help us with the selection process.