Catching Up With PARS Alumni Briana Renn

January 23, 2020

Briana Renn wasn’t sure what career path she wanted to follow, then she took a free 4-week program on reproductive sciences and her outlook changed. She had always been interested in the role genetics plays in our daily lives, so when her middle school teacher sent an e-mail out about the program, she decided to apply along with one of her friends. She initially didn’t get in – but her friend did, and hearing about what she was doing each session made her want to participate even more, so she reapplied and was selected for the next session.

The program – the Penn Academy for Reproductive Sciences (PARS) – is an all-female workshop led by expert clinicians and scientists, that incorporates a mix of small-group discussions, demonstrations, and hands-on lab activities to explore current research topics in reproductive health. Briana really enjoyed the hands-on aspect of the program, where she was able to work with mouse embryos and isolate her own DNA. She heard about real-life fertility scenarios when a physician from Penn gave a guest lecture, and learned about the roles genetics and epigenetics plays in our reproductive health. The experience sparked her interest in reproductive health and led her to apply for and successfully enroll in Temple’s nursing program.

Working in a lab setting and gaining real-world insight into the science behind fertility is not something you may experience in a typical high school class, so Briana enthusiastically advises anyone who is interested in a STEM career to apply for PARS, even if you’re not sure what career path you want to follow. You may just find your calling in life.

PARS is supported in part by grant P50 HD068157-06A1 from the National Institutes of Health. To learn more about the program, visit their website: https://irm.med.upenn.edu/science-impacting-the-clinic/education-outreach/pars/