Twin sisters, researchers, raise the profile for women scientists at Kean University

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UNION, NJ — Four Kean University students who presented at Research Days last month share more than their identity as young women scientists.

The four, who are all undergraduates studying at Kean on their way to becoming doctors, are two sets of twin sisters.

Dhairavi and Dhaara Shah, and Esther and Estella Blankson, agree that, by doing research and taking part in Research Days, they are helping to forge a path for other women in STEM.

“As a woman, I want to encourage all others interested in STEM to continue pursuing it, because STEM is not about gender, rather it is about advancing the world,” Dhairavi said.

The Shah sisters, from Roseland, are both sophomores in the science and technology-molecular biology program. They expect to earn bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Kean, and then attend medical school. Both are interested in oncology and medical research.

The Blanksons, international students from Ghana living in Plainfield, are seniors majoring in biology-health professions. Their interests in medicine are neurology and immunology.

Esther, who had an internship last summer at Stanford University, will receive her undergraduate degree in May, and begin a job with a clinical genetic diagnostic company in Austin, Texas, to broaden her knowledge before applying for medical school.

“We want to let younger females from the international community know that it is possible to achieve whatever they want in the United States no matter their citizenship status. All they have to do is ask,” Estella said.

The four sisters said they are looking forward to taking part in Research Days. They all came to research through Kean’s Center of Undergraduate Research and Fellowships.

“I am getting experience in research as an undergraduate so I can become a better candidate for medical school,” Dhaara said. “I want to continue doing research and help develop cures for many types of diseases.”

Added her sister, Dhairavi, “I am excited to present my research while also seeing what my peers have been working on.”

The sisters also said that along with their shared interest in science and medicine, their sibling connections help them stay motivated.

“It makes working on projects less stressful and more fun because we lean on each other for support,” Esther said.

Photos Courtesy of Kean University