Daria Santoro, ‘13

Hometown: Holliston, MA

Degree: BS, Chemistry and Biochemistry

Why did you choose to attend WPI?
I chose to come to WPI because of the overall atmosphere of the institute. Everyone, students and professors, are all so enthusiastic about their fields of study. I like hearing all of the different conversations as I walk through campus: students excited about classes or projects, professors discussing new areas of research, and all the potential for great novel ideas. I find it very inspirational and motivating to be part of a group of people who, like me, truly love science and want to use it to make a positive difference in the world.

How has WPI’s philosophy of Theory and Practice, and working with teams, been beneficial to you during your time at WPI?
Theory and Practice is excellent because it is the only way that I, as a student, can gain practical experience that I will be able to apply in my future career. While learning independently out of a book is a large part of being a student, having the opportunity to get out of the classroom and into the field to work with a group of my peers allows me to understand how to excel in any future professional environment.

What do you think are WPI’s greatest strengths?
In my opinion, WPI's greatest strength is the value they place on the ideas and opinions of undergraduate students. Before I began college, I had the idea in my head that the professors would know and understand a lot more than I did, so my ideas would not be worth as much. But at WPI, I found that the professors are interested in what the students have to say. They will listen seriously to research ideas, discuss opinions on how to perform an experiment, and debate proposed scientific theories with students. This attitude has given me a greater sense of confidence in my ability to make an impact on the scientific community.

What are your research projects?
I am currently working with Professor Joseph Duffy (BBT) on a project to improve the methods used for screening potential cancer drugs. This new approach will hopefully allow drug development teams to easily and accurately identify compounds that show promise in treating various human cancers.

What do you hope to do when you graduate? What would be your ideal job?
After I earn my BS in biochemistry, I am going to medical school to pursue an MD in pediatric oncology. It has always been my goal to spend some time volunteering for Doctors Without Borders, and then to work as a practicing oncologist at Children's Hospital in Boston.

Groups or extracurricular activities you participate in at WPI:

  • Student Health Advisory Council Treasurer
  • Mu Sigma Delta Pre-Health Society

Academic or professional awards you have received:

  • Charles O. Thomson Scholar
  • Herb Beall General Chemistry Award Recipient
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