BS Physics, Mathematics Minor, CUNY Lehman College
NYCSRMC: STEM Research Academy, Lehman College
How I see myself: My name is Priya-Syrina Li, and I am a physics major, minoring in mathematics. Astronomy had always intrigued me as a child. I was always interested in our terrestrial discoveries, but I found myself even more compelled by what was yet undiscovered and the concept of being able to take theoretical knowledge and put it to the test. This passion for astronomy and astrophysics has formed the backbone of my passions, and ultimately my career and educational pursuits, as they stand. From a more personal perspective, I am the person my friends always go to for a piece of advice and a good laugh. My free time is usually spent with my family around a good meal or watching the latest episode of Love is Blind.
My Passions: What is most exciting to me about physics is that there is so much left unknown in the field, and that everyday new discoveries are made that completely change what we know of the universe. While I know that I want to specialize in astrophysics, I think it is important to have a rounded understanding of the different subsets in the science as well, including quantum mechanics and particle physics. I really enjoy learning about how different systems in our world works, and being able to see the topics that I am learning in the classroom play out in current research.
What makes you excited about working with other NYCSRMC alumni on this research study? I think the beauty of the NYCSRMC programs—and to an extent the STEM fields as a whole—is that there are many different fields of study that all coalesce into the betterment of our world. Students who were in these programs go off to study biology or anthropology or even go to work on STEM legislation. This is what truly excites me and sparks my curiosity; to see how people from different backgrounds, when given a similar resource, go off into their careers and cataclyze change or introduce more diverse representation. I look forward to learning from other alumni about how they and the people around them were impacted by a program they participated in while in high school.
Important Learning Experiences I’ve Had: Last fall, I had the opportunity to work with a professor—who is now my mentor–at my college on a project about quantum spin systems. It had been my first-time working on any type of physics-based research, and so while I was ecstatic to start the work, I also had a lot of imposter syndrome to work through. Along with this research, I had to do a lot of self-studies on quantum mechanics and linear algebra—portions that I had yet to get to in my studies. My mentor was very supportive of me through my learning curve. This experience really solidified my identity as a physicist—before I felt that I only had book knowledge. But now, I am more confident in my skills and the work I can accomplish.
Why I’m interested in talking with other NYCSRMC alumni about this research study: I am very curious about how confident students that went through NYCSRMC programs feel in their STEM careers. I think being exposed to different fields at a young age can really change the trajectory of people’s careers, and so having been in these programs I am curious to know how much of an impact that made on students. It would be enlightening to find out how students—who already have a somewhat established identity in STEM because of these programs—tackle social/institutional biases and challenges. I wonder if having that prior experience can make or break someone’s drive in the STEM fields.
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© 2023 NYC Science Research Mentoring Consortium
All rights reserved
Designed by [L]earned Media.