Angelina Mao

Growing up in Oklahoma, Angelina Mao is a lover of science, art, and music. In science, she is interested in how biology and engineering can be brought together to fight diseases.

In the fiction film “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids,” Professor Wayne Szalinski develops a matter-shrinking machine that accidentally shrinks his neighbor’s and his own kids. Watching this movie during eighth grade, she wondered if she could invent a shrunken particle to shrink diseased cells such as cancer cells for disease treatment. Reading scientific news on nanotechnology, she realized that shrinking a particle into a nanoparticle was possible and such nanoparticles could be used as nanomedicines for treating a variety of diseases.

Devoured by this curiosity, she started her scientific journey. During high school, she read articles published in scientific journals to learn bioengineering knowledge while taking advanced chemistry, biology, and physics courses. In the meantime, she tried her best to be engaged in bioengineering research in professors’ labs that studied the development of nanomaterials and biomaterials for disease treatment. The laboratory research has fed her yearning to discover powerful disease-curing medicines.

She always has a love for art and teaching children. As a bilingual speaker, she volunteered to teach an art class to kids every Sunday to make a local Chinese school more enjoyable during high school. By learning to draw different subjects in her art class, the kids gradually opened their creative doors, entering the worlds of their own imaginations. Seeing their enthusiastic and contagious smiles has motivated her to teach them year after year until she graduated from high school. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, she taught the art class remotely through Zoom.

She loves music and has been playing the clarinet since elementary school. Her countless hours of practicing have led her to be accepted into different honor bands such as the CODA (Central Oklahoma Directors Association) honor band. The failure and success she has experienced during musical contests have enabled her to realize that just like the astounding melodies she had learned on clarinet, life always has ups and downs. This realization has guided her to positively face challenges in doing research, teaching art, and practicing music.