Deus Alleluia Nsenga is a rising sophomore at Princeton University who is spending his summer at the Englander Institute for Precision Medicine as an intern working with the high throughput drug screening platform. He has been writing C# scripts to customize the fully automated screening platform, and his work is overseen by mentors Alexandros Sigaras and Danielle Bulaon.
Mentorship and creating meaningful internship opportunities for talented young people, from across the country and around the world, is a high-priority for the EIPM and Weill Cornell Medicine.
“Deus is such a bright, independent person, and I feel lucky to having him work on this project with me,” said Danielle Bulaon, EIPM Research Operations Manager. “He brings programming capabilities stemming from areas that I have yet to learn, so it’s fun for me to see the way he approaches things. I’m excited to learn from his experiences and capabilities as well. His time here will make an incredible impact on our programs and capabilities going forward.”
We hope you enjoy learning more about his background and research interests.
How has the internship been going?
It’s been a great learning experience. I’ve been programming C# scripts for the high throughput drug screening robot, it’s a platform that performs multiple three-dimensional drug screens on samples from different patients.
The scripts I write help to customize the platform and make it work efficiently. Working in C# is new for me, it builds on the computer science classes I take at Princeton using Java, which is an object-oriented program language that’s pretty similar to C#. I’m still learning the specifics of how the robot works and how to best structure my scripts, and I’m really excited to learn more about the potential of this technology.
Can you tell me about your relationship with your mentors?
I consider myself to be very lucky to have Alex and Danielle (right) as my mentors, despite the fact that they are super-busy with multiple projects they always make time for me and answer my many questions.
Alex works in close proximity to me, so I can often just ask him technical questions or shoot him a quick email and I’ll get a response right away. Danielle works in a different building but she’s always available to answer my questions and provide me with guidance. She’s great about sharing her love of science and provides me with big picture of what she’s trying to accomplish. I appreciate that.
How does your internship fit with your longer-term career plans?
My long-term goals, my life goals, center around building a career at the intersection of technology and business. This can be anything combining medicine, science, and technology. I’m not yet certain how these plans will take shape, but my future career goals definitely involve making an impact using technology.
How do you like New York City?
I love New York City! I have a host family that I live with when I have short breaks from Princeton. When I have longer breaks I try to get back to see my family in Kigali, Rwanda. I love the diversity of New York, so many people with such different backgrounds and languages being spoken. It’s really exciting to be standing on a street corner and hear Spanish to my left and Portuguese to my right. I find that pretty cool.
What do you miss about Rwanda?
Of course I miss my family and my friends, but technology helps and I can connect with them by Skype or WhatsApp. This is hard to explain, but I miss the culture of how people interact with each other, their affection, how they speak to each other, their stories.
I know how rare and difficult it is for parents in Rwanda to be able to send their children abroad for a great education, whether to Europe or the United States, so working hard while I’m here is my job now. I was able to come here through a program called Bridge2Rwanda that prepares students for studying abroad, helps with standardized test preparation, applying to universities, and finding host-families.
What do you like to do outside of the lab and school?
My hobbies are music, I love singing and playing guitar & piano. I also like going to the gym, and playing basketball and football—that’s soccer to Americans! Barcelona is my favorite team and Lionel Messi is my favorite player.
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