Hi! My name is Tanirika and I am currently a rising senior and a youth ambassador for iGIANT.
A youth ambassador’s duties include helping conduct research on a variety of topics and
assisting scholars-in-residence with various projects. The responsibilities outlined however do
not provide enough justice to the unique opportunities available at iGIANT and its distinctive
mission that takes upon a multifaceted approach as science, public policy, technology, etc. are
combined to deliver a refreshing new take on a multitude of subject matters and potential
I first stumbled upon iGIANT after sifting through the news section in my school counselor’s
office. Seeing that there was a research opportunity available through this unique
ambassadorship program, I excitedly went home and then proceeded to spend two hours going
through every tab on the website and reading some of the phenomenal projects that iGIANT was
supporting at the time. What really attracted me however was iGIANT’s mission to explore the
impact of sex in the medical field, specifically looking into autoimmune diseases that primarily
all affect women more than men. Aside from a biological interest, I am also particularly keen in
understanding how societal norms and beliefs impact women’s lifestyles. In fact, as part of a
recent iGIANT project, I collected data regarding gender at play in the gym. I was surprised to
discover how simple environmental elements in gyms such as the clumping of cardio machines
in one corner (preferred by women) and weights (preferred by men) in the other corner
inadvertently lead to a separation between members in the gym. This created a clear gender
divide in activity as well as space; thus, as supported in some studies, this discouraged women
from weight lifting because the area, both physically and figuratively, was dominated by men.
Personally, as a student who hopes to pursue a career in the medical field, having the opportunity
to conduct such research that I believe to be critical in this time and to be able to play an active
role in the academia field has been an invaluable opportunity. For that I am very grateful and I
look forward to continuing my relationship with the organization.