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I worked at the Cure Alzheimer’s Fund in the last few months of my senior year of high school (Spring 2017). During my time at CureAlz, I assisted with office work and event preparation, and did research to compile various statistics to be used in state campaigns. At the end of my internship, I produced an updated statistical booklet, which highlighted disease prevalence projections, state-specific Medicaid cost projections, national and global disease mortality rates, age distributions, elderly growth rates, etc. In addition, I organized and directed my own benefit dance concert with my high school dance studio to raise money for CureAlz. To do this, I coordinated with the fundraising team, drafted budgets and advertisements, booked and coordinated show spaces, and organized bake sales for additional fundraising. The performance involved around 100 dancers, 20-plus pieces and was a huge success—we raised upwards of $3,000 for research!

My grandmother was my hero and best friend. She was my biggest cheerleader, companion and confidant. The summers I spent at her house in Illinois were the absolute best part of my childhood. I owe so much of who I am to my grandmother, and she taught me valuable life lessons that I carry with me every day. After watching her battle Alzheimer’s disease for 10 years and seeing this horrible disease steal every part of her, I knew I needed to do something. Before her passing in 2019, I had countless questions. What was going on in her brain? Where did her behaviors stem from? Why did nobody seem to have any answers? Why wasn’t more being done? I was particularly taken aback by the time I spent volunteering in my grandmother’s memory-care unit. Seeing countless families going through the same exact struggle emboldened my curiosity and motivated me to learn more and seek out answers.

“After raising money for research and helping out at CureAlz as a high school senior, I felt motivated to learn more about the aging brain and neurodegeneration. I went on to earn a BS in biopsychology at Tufts University, where my passion for Alzheimer’s and neurodegenerative disease was solidified. I took classes like Brain and Behavior and [the] Biological Basis of Psychopathology that helped me learn about the disordered brain and disease in a more comprehensive way. But I wanted to do more than learn about diseases like Alzheimer’s. I wanted to try to help cure and prevent them with the help of funding from places like CureAlz. I knew the way to do so was to get involved in scientific research.

“I spent time working as a research assistant with the Harvard Aging Brain Study at Massachusetts General Hospital, and I am currently the patient coordinator in the Tsai Lab at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). At MIT, I am working on a 40Hz sensory stimulation treatment approach to Alzheimer’s disease, and I hope to continue doing this research next year by pursuing a Ph.D. in cognitive neuroscience. 

“My grandmother’s battle with AD has given me a profound and personal connection with Alzheimer’s disease and CureAlz. Moreover, my grandmother and early experiences at CureAlz have shaped my professional trajectory and life purpose to continue working in this field. I am so passionate and motivated to find a cure and make a difference for all those who are faced with this disease. I hope that we are able to continue raising the money and resources necessary to do this incredibly important research.”