February 11 is International Day of Women and Girls in Science. To recognize the day, we caught up with Mahya Fazel-Zarandi, who we featured in early 2021 when she was working in the Gingras lab at the Lunenfeld-Tanenbaum Research Institute.

After graduating high school in the spring of 2020 with the intention of going to Princeton University in the fall to study molecular biology, Mahya felt that the she instead could get a start on her career by pausing her post-secondary plans and contribute to the global response of the COVID-19 pandemic.

In September 2020, Mahya was offered a position of Student Research Assistant, working full time with the serology team.

You can read more about Mahya’s Sinai Health journey here.

Mahya Today: Princeton Class of 2025

Mahya has been attending Princeton University since September 2021 as a prospective molecular biology student on the pre-MD-PhD track, with minors in computer science and quantitative and computational biology.

“Since I finished high school virtually, it has been wonderful to be on campus and have in-person classes after two years,” says Mahya. She notes that the knowledge and techniques learned during her time at the Gingras lab has been very beneficial for her biology and chemistry classes, as well as her lab courses.

Outside of the classroom, Mahya is involved with biology research and is a member of the Council on Science and Technology, the Princeton Society of Philosophy and the robotics team. She also co-founded the Princeton branch of the American Medical Women’s Association, where she organizes activities to advance women in medicine, advocate for equality and ensure excellence in health care.

She also pursued her interest in journalism by writing for the Daily Princetonian, the leading student publication on campus. You can read Mahya’s work with the Daily Princetonian here.

Her advice for girls interested in pursuing science: “Believe in yourselves and pursue your dreams despite what anyone else says or thinks,” she says. “Don’t get tired of searching and researching for answers. In the end, you’ll achieve a chain of discovery that never ends.”