Samaira - Plethora of Ideas!

“The best way to have a good idea is to have lots of ideas”  -Linus Pauling

I started with the goal of coming up with eight different ideas for my project. I truly believe the best ideas stem from having to fix a problem; hence, a variety of issues came to mind, from those that affected me and those around me to those that affect society as a whole. I thought about how I could not quickly and accurately distinguish between trash types at Chipotle (despite being taught, at an early age, about what belonged in the compost, recycle, and landfill). I thought about how my friends complained to me about now knowing how to spend their summer vacation wisely to have the most fun while being productive. And I thought about how my science teacher’s mother, unfortunately, passed away due to ovarian cancer because it was a specific cancer where comparatively less research had been conducted. I looked into the increase in gun violence across America, the rise in houselessness (especially where I live in San Francisco), the consistent gender inequality with unequal pay, representation, respect, etc. for women, the lack of accessible health care and/or health care devices, and about the shortage of doctors/nurses. Therefore, with such a vast range of issues I could solve, it was difficult to shorten it to just three.

I decided to examine how these eight ideas overlap. I saw that the following problems fell under ovarian cancer: gender inequality, lack of accessible health care devices, and shortage of doctors/nurses. 

Gender inequality: In a TIME magazine interview from February 2020, Dr. Kimberlé Crenshaw, a law professor at Columbia and UCLA who coined the term “intersectionality,” explained how “[t]he image of the citizen is still a male citizen.” When we look into fields like medicine, the male body is the body. Hence, diseases like ovarian cancer often get overlooked; And there are evident statistics that back this as 200,000 out of the 300,000 women diagnosed with this each year die.

Lack of accessible health care devices: Often, medical devices have very high costs because of the amount of time and money spent on research and development. Since this is not a project I am doing to earn money, but rather solely to help society, what if I create a free and easily accessible device to aid doctors in ovarian cancer diagnosis?

Shortage of doctors/nurses: What if I utilize technology to help accomplish some doctors’ tasks to preserve accurate diagnosis, even when there is a staff shortage? Often, a CADx (computer-aided-diagnosis) can be even more accurate than what doctors can observe and conclude through their naked eye?

In my personal experience, I am motivated by the potential impact my ideas may have, and I think 3M scientists are motivated by something very similar. While talking to my mentor, Stephanie, I understood how she works in the data centers and 5G aspect of 3M. These are fields that personally interest her, even outside of work, so she is motivated to create continuous disruption. 

It’s just the second blog, and I’m already feeling so inspired by the potential of this work and the progress we will make over this summer! I’ll see you soon when we make some more conclusive decisions.