Growing up, Madeline Kim, 2020 was constantly exposed to medicine as her parents, both doctors, would play medical tapes in the car and have conversations about work. It wasn’t until her sophomore year though that Maddie discovered her passion for serving others after helping her peers cope with the tragic death of a classmate. A summer program at Johns Hopkins University after her sophomore year cemented her interest in medicine, specifically molecular and cellular biology and research.
This summer, Maddie took a deeper dive into the world of molecular biology through a new capstone fellowship program at RPCS. She started her project with researcher Challice Bonifant, M.D., Ph.D., in her laboratory at Johns Hopkins Medicine that studies treatments for pediatric leukemia by engineering immune cells from a patient’s blood to recognize and kill cancer. Maddie then took a five week college undergraduate course, “Introduction to Biological Molecules” at Hopkins, where she was exposed to several lab techniques, many of which she was already familiar with from her on-site work with Dr. Bonifant.
For Maddie, the fellowship was an eye-opening and valuable experience and made clear that this is the path she wants to pursue. She is immensely grateful to Dr. Bonifant and her team for the time they took to teach her about immunotherapy. She also observed firsthand what it’s like to be a woman in a field that is mostly all men. Dr. Bonifant’s work with her colleagues to bring attention and representation to other women’s work in hematology and her insights into how she manages her career and family also resonated strongly with Maddie. “Many of the lessons Dr. Bonifant taught me about being a woman in a male dominated field will continue to be valuable to me as I move onto college and beyond.”