20-year-old Magda Wojtara is a determined rising junior at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, studying Neuroscience through the LSA Honors Program with a minor in Astronomy, Science, Tech, and Society. She is on a pre-med track with the mission of applying to medical school following a gap year focused on philanthropy and giving back to her community. To put her plans into action, Magda works at the Biochemistry Department (O’Brien Lab) at the University of Michigan Medical School, focusing on activation-induced deaminases (AID), and their role in lung cancers while searching for viable inhibitors of AID. Her outstanding work in the field led to an accepted abstract and presentation at the NCUR (National Conference on Undergraduate Research). Magda is extremely active on campus as she founded — and is the current President — the University of Michigan’s Health Occupation Students of America Chapter (HOSA).
Aside from her commitments on and off-campus, Magda founded her own nonprofit organization, General Intelligences, which seeks to mitigate educational inequality. As an FGLI student, Madga is aware that getting into college does not dismantle all the educational inequality pervasive on a systemic level. While education has commonly been perceived as a “great equalizer”, it is inherently unequal. To attempt to mitigate this, she joined forces with other passionate students worldwide, to tackle educational inequality through her organization.
The aim of General Intelligences is to make “common sense” more common by introducing first-generation, low-income, marginalized communities and refugees with high quality, and free academic and professional resources, through free live webinars in partnerships with Nobel Prize Panelists, ISEF Recipients, professors, and inspiring youth. There are also nearly 200 valuable articles, many written by FGLI students, on their website that highlight various aspects involving education and mental health. They’ve helped more than 1,500 students through their webinars in their first quarter in operation and plan to expand their initiative through international reach to support schools and students in other countries that lack comparable educational resources or accessibility.
To encourage other females to become agents of change, Madga says, “Take that step. The only way you will know if an idea is really feasible, is to fully invest in trying it out to the best of your ability. This doesn’t mean you should be impulsive- definitely plan meticulously. But, don’t let your fear of failure dictate your life choices.”