Girlstart Talks to Shree Bose
First winner of the Google global science fair
Shree Bose is the first winner of the Google global science fair and will be a special guest at Girlstart’s Game Changers Luncheon, October 23, 2012. For more information visit www.girlstart.org/game-changers.Girlstart recently caught up with Shree to ask her a few questions about being a girl in STEM.
How does it feel to be a game changer at such a young age?
It still sounds strange to me to be called a "game changer," but I would have to say that being recognized in such a huge way at such a young age has definitely been a great honor. It's been incredible to see the support of so many people and very humbling to see how much people all over the world believe in me and my ability to do something to make the world a better place in the future. To be completely honest, it is a little intimidating, but so far I've just picked something I've loved and I feel passionate about - cancer research - and it's paid off beyond what I could have ever imagine so I'm hoping not only to continue, but also to inspire other kids to see the opportunities that science offers.
What was the most exciting thing that happened to you after you won the science fair?
Ahh there are so many moments, I don't know if I can pick a favorite. But I will say that one of my most heart stopping moments was turning around in a hallway of the Oval Office and coming face to face with President Obama opening the door to the Oval Office. He literally just smiled and said "hey, you're Shree; you worked with ovarian cancer, right?" and I had this complete teenage moment. We (me and the other age category winners of the fair) had 15 minutes in the Oval Office with the President, and it was so exciting to see someone was genuinely interested in getting students into science, technology, engineering, and math. We talked a little bit about what we want to do in the future and I have to say it was one of my most surreal, oh-my-goodness-this-is-happening moments.
What is your all time favorite quote?
I think I actually have two favorite quotes. I think it's a tie between "life is a whim of several billion cells to be you for a while" by Groucho Marx and "be humble for you are made of Earth, be noble for you are made of stars" which is a Serbian Proverb.
Why did you decided to get involved with Girlstart?
I was actually in Austin giving a talk at the Austin Forum when I heard about the Girlstart organization and everything it's doing to try and get girls to really pick something they love and do their best. I think it's wonderful, and I'm excited to be a part of Girlstart's mission.
What motivated you to work so hard in high school?
Looking back at a lot of what I did through high school, I still can't believe I did so much. I think what motivated me the most to work so hard was the fact that I really loved what I was doing, so even when I was spending last night working, it was because I wanted to, not because I had to.
Have you ever felt that people have underestimated you because you are a girl?
I don't think I've ever experienced direct discrimination or being underestimated because I was a girl. I do think that, in our society, it is harder for girls to get into STEM fields because of a lot of preconceived notions of which fields girls belong in. But I do think that trend is shifting and I'm excited to be a part of that.
How were you able to solve a problem in medicine that other scientists had yet to solve?
I wouldn't say the problem of cisplatin resistance in ovarian cancer is completely solved, but my research was definitely a step forward. When I first got started on this project, my mentor warned me that it was a risky choice for a project, but I was excited to be working on it, which I think was a huge part.
Who was a female game changer in your life?
Hmm... There's been a lot. I think my mentor, Dr. Alakananda Basu, a professor at the UNTHSC was definitely a game changer for me along with my supervisor, Savitha Sridharan, a doctorate student. But I do think the biggest female game changer for me has been my mother who grew up without very much and was always happy to see me grow up to be responsible and happy. That's something I can never thank her enough for, but I guess I can work as hard as possible to let her be happy now.
Shree Bose is the first winner of the Google global science fair and will be a special guest at Girlstart’s Game Changers Luncheon, October 23, 2012. For more information visit www.girlstart.org/game-changers.