Bringing student dreams within reach

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Bringing student dreams within reach

Growing up in Jakarta, Indonesia, Marsha Wibowo developed a deep interest in biology, but she never dreamed she’d have the opportunity to do research in the United States. A first-generation college student at Massachusetts Institute of Technology and now a second-year PhD student at Harvard Medical School, Wibowo feels immensely grateful for the opportunities afforded to her through the generosity of others.

Marsha Wibowo at her graduation from Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2016

Last year, Wibowo was selected to receive the Charles and Ing Himawan Graduate Fellowship, which was established by Jeff S. Himawan, PhD ’96, to support one international student in his or her PhD studies at HMS. She and Himawan share a similar background: both were born in Jakarta, both attended MIT for their undergraduate studies, and both chose to continue their studies at HMS in the Division of Medical Sciences.

The similarities are not lost on Wibowo. “It is very encouraging and inspiring to receive support from someone who has been in my shoes,” she says. “Knowing how impactful it could be to help younger students, I give back to the community through service projects in Southeast Asia. I hope to one day be able to help the younger generation even more.”

Wibowo has chosen to complete her thesis work in the lab of Aleksandar Kostic, PhD ’13, at Joslin Diabetes Center. When she was in high school, Wibowo’s father died of complications from diabetes, and she has since dreamed of making contributions to the field.

“It is an honor for me now to be able to directly contribute to a cause that is very personal to me,” she says. “Dr. Himawan’s generosity has helped me come closer to my dream of making an impact and contributing to the field of medicine.”

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