“These professors have mentored me so well."You get the impression that Natasha Sichula is going places – mostly because of all the places she’s been, and is about to go.
The junior Cytotechnology major, whose home is a world away from the Midwest in Mufulira, Zambia, just learned she’s been selected for the Novartis Scientific Summer Scholar 2019 Program in Boston - a paid internship. According to the company, the program provides research training opportunities “for top-tier students to gain research experience, enhance their preparation in applying to top graduate and professional programs, and expose them to Novartis’s approach to patient-driven research.”
To say she’s excited just scratches the surface. She learned she had been accepted as a Summer scholar in late January – just as Madison was getting out of the grip of brutally cold winter weather that kept many of us indoors.
She learned about the opportunity from friends, but credits faculty here with getting her to where she is today. Brenda Del Moral, Associate Professor, Diana Huepenbecker, Senior Lecturer, and Marisol Lopez, Assistant Professor, all in the Biological Sciences Department, wrote recommendations for her for the Summer Scholar application.
“These professors have mentored me so well,” Natasha said. “They have always been there for me, helping me be on track to graduate.”
More than on track, she is already working toward a more just and compassionate world – starting local, in her home country. She’s part of small group of Zambian women who have created a local organization - Gracious Foundation for Maternity Protection Zambia - focused on sustainable and entrepreneurial ways to empower women. In October 2018, she was invited to the Clinton Global Initiative University conference in Chicago to talk about her work, and to get ideas from the other young people from around the world who attended.
Natasha plans to pursue a medical degree and serve as an OB/GYN doctor. “Every time I do something, it’s pointing toward that goal,” she said. “That’s the light at the end of the tunnel.”
Then she quickly adds, “I want to be the Minister of Health for my country one day.”