How the Emerging Innovators Research Program Helped Me

My name is Hari Srinivasan, and I am an incoming freshman at the University of Southern California (USC) as a biophysics major. During the past 4 years, I have been attending the Quarry Lane School, where I was also a part of the IB Diploma program. Through the classes in this school, I learned a lot about where my interests were academically and were able to get a feel for what I could pursue in the future. Generally, I enjoyed the sciences and especially found a liking for biology. However, none of this was a concrete nor specific idea, and by the time I was entering my junior year, there was still a sense of uncertainty for my future. Thankfully, I joined the Emerging Innovators Research Program which helped greatly in the search for my passions, skills, and college options.

The first assignment for this program is not related to the research itself, but rather a separate blog on a topic of choice. Our instructor, Shanti Balaraman, eased us into the writing standards and techniques needed for the research paper later on with this assignment. It taught me and my classmates valuable writing tips, such as the importance of a concise reading, reliable pieces of evidence, and a powerful thesis. It also provided an opportunity for me to engage with my classmates and get to know them. A large part of this program is the communication between classmates because we are able to learn and improve from each other.

After this blog, we started the process of writing the research paper, which included finding an adequate topic, and relating it to the teachings of biomimicry. My favorite part of this program was the freedom we had over our topic, and how we would approach addressing our issue. This freedom is what allowed me to truly explore myself, and chose what academic subjects interest me to where I could write a whole research paper on them. I decided to base my paper on a nuclear fusion reactor blueprint based on biological energy production processes such as cellular respiration. Going through the trial and error of researching and problem solving a solution strengthened my passion for biology and physics, and it felt immensely satisfying to finish a project of this scale.

Additionally, this research program greatly helped me in my later years of high school. It helped to meet an IB Diploma requirement for CAS (community, action, and service) and presented itself well in my college essays. Many colleges want to see concrete examples of how a student pursues their interests, and this research paper acted as a perfect example for me. Finally, finishing a research paper related to biology and physics helped to narrow down my undergraduate major, which is biophysics.

I would like to extend a feeling of gratitude to Ms. Shanti Balaraman for letting me have this wonderful opportunity at the Children’s Innovation Center!

About the Author:

Hari Srinivasan completed the 2 semester Emerging Innovators Research Program in 2019-2020. He is currently a freshman at USC – University of Southern California (2021-2025) majoring in Biophysics.