For Annie Katanga ’26, a sophomore in the biotechnology program, one of the best parts of her UNH Manchester experience has been the opportunity to do research. Over the summer, she was part of POWERED: Program for Oncology Workforce Education and Research Experience at Dartmouth.
Students in the POWERED program do two summers of mentored research experiences at Dartmouth Cancer Center and work in laboratories at their home institutions during the semester. Annie is currently doing research with UNH Manchester professor Dr. Kristin Johnson, who encouraged Annie to apply for the program.
Annie, whose ultimate goal is to attend medical school, says doing research has given her space to develop skills and gain a clearer vision of her path.
“I met great people, learned so much and doing research with Dr. Johnson is helping me to grow,” Annie says. “I learned that I just need time and space that shows me areas of improvement and someone who nurtures self-confidence.”
Annie finds that having that space and guidance is especially important for students from other countries. Originally from the Congo, Annie grew up in Zambia and moved to the United States in 2017. She says it can be difficult to understand etiquette and boundaries and to adapt and grow into a professional space while maintaining an authentic voice.
Though she acknowledges it’s still a transition for her, she has learned qualities about herself through her experiences.
“I learned that I am brave. I know myself now,” she says. “It teaches you new qualities about yourself and you get perspectives from different sides.”
Those different perspectives are important to Annie. She says a common misconception people have about those from Africa is that they aren’t as fluent or won’t make an impact. She would like to change that.
“The people there matter as much as people here,” she says. “If people would work together, they would make a difference together; contributions from the other side matter as well.”
Not only does she want to develop better medical treatment and research, Annie also hopes that her personal experiences will help others to see life differently.
“I want to impact people personally and make a difference in the world,” Annie says. “Sometimes you need to be the person that implements and introduces the things you’d like to see.”