United States

Two photos of Johileny exiting a red phone booth, using a cane in one picture and a wheelchair in the other.

Finding Strength in Identity

View this article as it appears in the AWAY Journal (PDF).

As Johileny Merán made the final preparations for her studies abroad in London the fall semester of her senior year, it was a question which weighed heavily on her mind. Like many of her peers as a freshman at New York University, she had attended all of the study abroad program events to gather study abroad information, but she always seemed to leave the events with that same question.

Gillian smiles at camera, giving peace sign with fingers. They stand outdoors in front of a canal and windmill.

Reflections on the Canal

View this article as it appears in the AWAY Journal (PDF).

As Gillian Giles sketches a tree in the backyard of their family's Chicago home or contemplates which types of plants native to Illinois will attract pollinators to their planned butterfly garden, you would likely sense that Gillian is one of those old souls who can slow down and appreciate life at a more relaxed pace, someone adept at savoring moments of quiet amid the buzz of the city.

The Hofburg, a royal castle in Vienna, is show in the center of the picture. There is a statue of a warrior on a horse holding a spear in the foreground and the sky in the background is filled with dark clouds.

Exploring Evolutionary Biology and Bioinformatics in Vienna, Austria

One late afternoon in March 2020 I was in my Zoom class learning about molecular biology, when I got an unexpected email. It was an acceptance letter from the Institute of Science and Technology Austria (IST) for their annual summer internship program. IST is a federal research institute in Vienna, Austria working on cutting-edge discoveries in a variety of STEM fields such as physics, mathematics, computer, and life sciences. I had just spent the last three months applying and getting rejected from STEM internships across the country.


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