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Angel Muthemba ’24 discovered her career path at the intersection of neuroscience and computer science, as well as through hands-on research and academic exploration.

Her journey began in high school, where she ventured into Boston from her hometown of Revere, Massachusetts, to immerse herself in student-research experiences at organizations like The Forsyth Institute, BioEchem, and the BioBuilder Educational Foundation.

Upon visiting Emmanuel, she knew it would be a place where she could foster connections, both within and beyond its campus. Reflecting on her decision, she said, “I did not want to get lost in a classroom of 100 students.”

Initially, Angel embarked on her college journey with aspirations of becoming an oral maxillofacial surgeon, focusing on a biology major within the pre-dental track. However, she shifted into neuroscience after a course anatomy and physiology, where she discovered the intricacies of the nervous system. Exposure to programming and data analysis courses steered her toward a new career path in neural engineering, which combines her interest in laboratory benchwork with her interpersonal skills.

In neural engineering, an evolving applied science, lies the relationship between neurology and technology, and the potential to better diagnose and develop treatment for patients with disorders such as dementia, stroke and epilepsy.

Angel credits Emmanuel’s small class sizes for helping her find who she calls her “Big Three”: Neuroscience professors Dr. Elizabeth Crofton and Dr. Melanie Leussis, and computer science professor Dr. Mark Sherman.

“I have so much respect for them,” she said. “They are so dedicated to their job and always inspire me to keep going. They encourage me to be more of a critical thinker. I can’t say thank you enough to them. It hasn’t always been easy being a Black girl in STEM, but they see something in me, and I always want to channel that moving forward.”

Throughout her time at Emmanuel, Angel has continuously expanded her professional networks and skill sets through internship and research positions, including stints in the neurology department at Massachusetts General Hospital, the Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins, and currently, at biotechnology research company Unravel Biosciences.

With graduation approaching in May, Angel has secured acceptance into Lab Central’s Career Forge program, designed to identify and empower exceptional, career-ready individuals with the technical skills needed to navigate the biotech industry successfully. Through this program, she will gain 110 hours of in-person lab training and professional development coaching.

In her relentless pursuit of knowledge (she recently taught herself the Python programming language), Angel encapsulates her ethos succinctly: “There’s no such thing as ‘enough learning.’”