Mass. General Immunology Research Center
Trinity Choroszej, a Class of 2022 Biotechnology student from Arlington, aspires to work in the medical field – possibly in immunology or oncology – and searched for a “co-op” job placement to match her big dreams.
She found it at the Mass. General Brigham Mucosal Immunology and Biology Research Center in Charlestown, where she works for course credit as part of Minuteman’s Cooperative Education Program for the 2021-22 year.
Choroszej dove head-first into the experience – being the youngest person in the research lab, working alongside accomplished medical researchers and graduate students.
“One of the technicians told me, ‘I didn’t know about any of this stuff when I was your age,’” Choroszej said. “It helped me remember that I am still learning, and you get more experience as you go along.”
Students in the co-op program generally spend every other week at an off-site job connected to their career technical education (CTE) major for course credit.
Choroszej is assisting a small team of medical researchers with experiments on iron levels in the immune system – something that could have an impact for people with iron deficiency.
“We’re looking at the relationship between cellular iron and the immune system,” she said. “If we know that having an iron deficiency impacts the immune system in a certain way, that could impact what kind of treatments we give people.”
Choroszej’s other area of interest is oncology – cancer research and treatments – due to having family members who were treated for cancer, the desire to help others, and the science behind it.
“The way we approach cancer is very different from a lot of things and that’s why it’s so deadly. It’s the body attacking itself,” she said. “Most people know at least one person with cancer.”
Choroszej said it was a big adjustment to transition from a high school classroom to a high-ranking medical research laboratory but described is as “an invaluable learning experience” with supportive colleagues.
“The people there are very accommodating,” she said. “I learned that if you go in and keep trying, keep putting your best foot forward, and are passionate about what you’re learning about, you can’t really fail.”
As of April 2022, Choroszej had been accepted to five universities for the fall of 2022. She is leaning toward choosing the University of Massachusetts Boston but is still awaiting more information before making a final decision.
At Minuteman, Choroszej is on the varsity girls’ soccer team, vice president of the Minuteman chapter of SkillsUSA, president of the Interact Community Service Club, a Student Ambassador and was a Peer Leader.
At the lab, Choroszej works for Dr. Bobby J. Cherayil, an associate professor of pediatrics for Harvard Medical School.
“Having Trinity in the lab reminded me of what it’s like to take on something new and exciting,” Cherayil said. “It was an educational experience for all of us. For her, it meant trying to master a completely unfamiliar subject; for us, it represented an opportunity to learn how to communicate scientific information effectively. I hope that I’ve been able to help in a small way with her academic development.”