Central MA College Standout: Duke University’s Kayla Manzi
Tuesday, April 01, 2014
A Conversation with Kayla Manzi
SW: What is the career that you envision for yourself?
KM: In the future I see myself researching in the biomedical engineering field or working in industry developing medical devices. I would like to go to graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin for biomedical engineering, then work either in a laboratory focused on cellular and tissue engineering, or for a company that develops new and innovative medical devices to keep the medical world advancing.
SW: What is your course of study and what drew you to it?
KM: I am studying biomedical engineering (BME). I have always been drawn to the math and science subjects growing up in school and because of that, I attended the Mass Academy of Math and Science for high school. In that program, I was introduced to engineering through my studies at WPI. I have known since I was younger that I wanted to do something in the medical field but was unsure about being a doctor. Biomedical engineering allowed to me continue with my passion of the math and science fields while also allowing me to fulfill my dream of working in the medical field to help people and improve care.
SW: What has been your most memorable course?
KM: My most memorable course is a course that I’m taking now called Biomedical Imaging. The class is split between two professors and the first was a phenomenal woman who specialized in MRI and is part of cutting-edge research taking place at the Duke Hospital. The second professor is a new teacher who just received his Ph.D. with a focus on ultrasound. Having two professors who are both experts in their respective fields is a privilege.
I have really enjoyed my upper level BME courses because the classes are getting smaller and I am getting to know my professors much better. Going to school at the #2 undergraduate BME program in the country, I am learning from the best and I appreciate it every day. The two professors in this course are young, approachable, and very funny. They remind me that anyone with an interest can pursue a career in academia; it doesn’t have to be so nerdy. They also both take the time to really get to know the students and provide many hands on demonstrations and examples in class.
SW: What leadership roles have you taken on campus?
KM: In my sorority, I have acted as both Director of Activities and Vice President of Membership. Being involved as a leader in a group that has given me so much was very rewarding. I am also on the varsity cheerleading team and have acted as Social Chair for the past two years. I hope to be a captain my senior year.
SW: What are you passionate about?
KM: At Duke, its hard not to be passionate about the school itself and the spirit it embodies. There is nothing like a Duke basketball game in Cameron Indoor Stadium. The passion for the school itself by all of the students and staff is unrivaled by anything I’ve ever experienced. Whether its supporting our athletic teams, our professors, or just enjoying the campus, Duke is always full of life and happiness. I am proud to go to a school where the most diverse people can come together and share a love for the same thing. I’m passionate about Duke.
SW: What is one thing you have learned about yourself since becoming a college student?
KM: Becoming a college student has taught me so much about myself and about life in general. I grew up in Dudley, which is a very small town where everyone knows my parents and my grandparents and everyone’s business. It was definitely a fun way to grow up, with all of my family around all the time and being recognized no matter which grocery store I went into, but I knew I wanted to experience something new and exciting when it came time to apply for college.
Attending a school where all 50 states and over 80 countries are represented, I learned that the world is so much bigger than I am and there is so much that I can learn just from my peers. There are so many experiences I haven’t had yet and so many great people that I never would’ve met had I stayed in Dudley. I learned that I have so much more learning to do and the people in our country are so motivated and interested that I know I’ll always have people to learn with me no matter where I end up.
SW: Where do you go and what do you do when you leave campus?
KM: Durham is an extreme foodie city, so when I leave campus I’m usually looking for a new hole-in-the-wall restaurant. Carolina barbecue is different from barbecue anywhere else in the country, so I frequent many local barbecue places in town. We also have a lot of unique brunch and breakfast places that are always worth a visit on the weekends. Besides food, I take weekend trips to the coast to go to the beach or hike at the local quarries. Other than that, I travel with the cheerleading team to cheer on our football and basketball teams at other ACC colleges.
SW: What is your favorite book?
KM: That is a tough one…I think I have to say the Harry Potter series in its entirety, just because I’ve read the whole thing upwards of 30 times and it never gets old. My favorite author outside of my Harry Potter obsession is Jodi Picoult. I’ve read all of her books and there isn’t a single one where I didn’t fall in love with the characters.
SW: What or who has had the greatest influence on you to date? Why?
KM: My mom has definitely influenced me the most to date. She is a beautiful person inside and out and always puts the needs of others before herself. No matter what adversity or struggles she is facing, she always finds a way to stay positive. She has always encouraged me to pursue my dreams no matter how far from her they would take me. She pushed me to do my best in everything and supports me no matter what. She also sets a great example of how to see the good in everyone and really appreciate people for the little things they do to make you smile. I hope when I grow up I’m at least half the person she is.
SW: What would someone be surprised to learn about you?
KM: People might be surprised to learn that I am completely unable to keep a surprise a secret. I sent my mom flowers a few weeks ago as a surprise and was so excited that I couldn't wait for her to get them and managed to ruin the surprise over FaceTime the night before they were supposed to be delivered. She thought it was hysterical…but really, no one should ever ask me to plan a surprise party.
Central MA College Standout is a weekly feature that profiles college and university students in Central MA. Join us every Tuesday for a look at the careers and lifestyles of today’s local college student. If you have suggestions for a profile, email [email protected].
Susan D. Wagner is president of Susan Wagner PR, a boutique public relations firm invested in meeting client's goals with integrity and creativity.
Related Slideshow: Ten Greatest Days in New England Sports History
February 1, 2004
Patriots 2004 Super Bowl
In 2004, the Patriots captured their third Super Bowl in four years. The win put New England in the group of the small number of dynasty teams in the NFL, joining the Packers, Steelers and 49ers.
Super Bowl XXXVIII finished with the Patriots holding on to a 32-29 win over the Carolina Panthers.
The game was also famous for the infamous wardrobe malfunction involving Janet Jackson and Justin Timberlake.
December 21, 2010
Longest Winning Streak
The UConn women broke UCLA men's streak of the most consecutive wins in a season.
They dominated their sport like no other and on December 21, 2010, UConn's 93-62 win over Florida State put UConn women in the #1 position.
Later, Sports Illustrated named UConn women as the #3 greatest dynasty in sports in the decade behind only the Lakers and Patriots.
June 12, 1984
Celtics v. Lakers
The 1980's were the glory days of the NBA and the Boston Celtics and the Los Angeles Lakers were the two teams that elevated the play and excitement of the era.
Larry Bird and Magic Johnson were the superstars and were the feature players. Their rivalry started in the NCAA finals when Magic dazzled and Bird fizzled.
On June 12, 1984, the Celtics won game seven, 111-102 with Cedric Maxwell leading the Celts in scoring with 24 points and a team leading 8 assists. Bird was MVP of the series.
October 27, 2004
Curse of the Bambino
In 2004, after the dramatic historic come from behind win against the Yankees, the Red Sox went on to the World Series and swept the Cardinals 4-0, to win the first title since 1918.
The World Series win broke the proverbial "Curse of the Bambino" which had been in place since the Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees.
November 23, 1984
BC v. Miami
There could not have been a more unlikely superstar and there could not have been a bigger stage to pull off the most dramatic win when BC beat the defending National Champions. Quarterback Doug Flutie put on the best show - maybe ever -- in college football.
Flutie threw for 474 yards and 4 touchdowns and the last TD was to Gerard Phelan on the final play - maybe the most exciting play ever in sports.
Final score: BC 47, University of Miami 45.
October 13, 2013
Patriots Beat New Orleans on Last Second TD; Red Sox Comeback from 5 Runs Down v. Tigers
New England sports fans enjoyed the most improbable double header comeback wins.
First, the Patriots upset the undefeated New Orleans Saints with a 70 yard last minute drive that saw the Patriots score with just 5 seconds to steal a 30-27 win. The Saints had numerous opportunities to put the game away.
Then, the Boston Red Sox in Game Two of the ALCS at home rallied from a 5 run deficit in the 6th inning and came back on a David Ortiz grand slam to tie and a 9th inning hit to win. The Red Sox had lost Game One of the series 1-0 and were on the verge in Game Two of losing any chance of winning the series.
May 10, 1970
Bruins Beat Blues 4-3 in OT to Win Stanley Cup
The Boston Bruins took New England by storm behind the play of Phil Esposito and Bobby Orr.
In the final game and the score tied 3-3, Orr scored the winning and iconic goal to launch the Bruins into the hearts of New Englanders and to create one of sports most memorable photos.
April 28, 1966
Celtics Win 8th Straight, Red's Last Game, Russell First African American Head Coach
The win by the Boston Celtics over the Los Angeles Lakers in 1966 was a triple header for sports.
First, the 1966 Championship was the 8th straight and set a record never to be matched.
Second, it was the last game that Red Auerbach would ever coach.
Third, as Red stepped down, the enigmatic Bill Russell was named player coach - he was the first African American pro coach of the modern sports era. (Brown alum, Fritz Pollard coached pro football).
February 3, 2002
Patriots Upset Rams to Win 1st Super Bowl
The New England Patriots were 14 point underdogs to the Rams and this was expected to be one of the biggest blowouts in Super Bowl history.
Instead, the Patriots played physical defense and although outgained 427-267 in yards, went on to best the Rams.
The Patriots won on a last second field goal to win their 1st Super Bowl by a score of 20-17.
October 20, 2004
Red Sox Come Back from Down 0-3, to Beat Yankees in ACLS
The Red Sox were looking at another sad loss to the New York Yankees three games to zero and down to 3-4 in the ninth inning and down to their last three outs. The Sox scratched a run off a stolen base by Dave Roberts and a clutch hit by Bill Mueller to tie the game 4-4 and send it into extra innings.
In the 12th inning, the Red Sox scored two runs off a walk off homer by David Ortiz.
The Red Sox went on to make history winning three more games.
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