By: Brooke Wolford
Shweta Ramdas is a 5th year PhD student in the Department of Computational Medicine and Bioinformatics at the University of Michigan Medical School. Recently, Shweta won the department’s Student Service Award for her work with several science outreach organizations including RELATE, MI DNA Day, MiSciWriters, and Girls Who Code. Shweta happened upon research by chance, having not really known much about scientific research as a field before her undergraduate career at the National University of Singapore (Shweta is originally from Mumbai, India). Thanks to great mentors, she realized how fun science could be. Her affinity for science outreach was born out of the desire to pass that excitement for science on to others. Luckily the general public is genuinely curious about human genetics, Shweta’s area of expertise, so she takes advantage of every opportunity to talk about genetics and her research. For example, she has spoken about genetics at public science events in Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti. She also helped establish MiSciWriters, a student organization that hosts a science writing blog to explain research to lay audiences, and frequently writes about genetics for the blog. Like many scientists who engage in outreach, Shweta always comes away from an outreach event feeling more excited about the research she does on a daily basis. Her thesis work, under the mentorship of Dr. Jun Li, focuses on different approaches to understand the genetic basis of human traits.