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Bioengineer Monica Cho

This week’s edition of Campus Celebrity is Senior Monica Cho, who most recently performed over the weekend in the Bloomers Band at the Bloomers Show Snowpocalypse Now: Baby, It’s a Cult Inside. HerCampus recently had the pleasure of speaking with Monica about how she finds the balance between the seriousness of biomedical research and being an important asset to Penn’s all-female comedy troupe.

Name: Monica Cho

Year: 2014

Hometown: Maryland/DC

Though a Senior in the School of Engineering majoring in Bioengineering, Monica came from a musical background of violin and piano before applying to Penn. Like other past Campus Celeb’s, Monica chose Penn because of the atmosphere. Freshman year, she wanted to keep up with her musical abilities. “I tried out for a few pit orchestras and had some terrible auditions,” she said with a smile, “then I tried out for the Bloomers Band and got in. I think it all worked out in the end.”

If you have attended any Bloomers shows in the past four years, you would have seen Monica performing violin in their band. Bloomers represents Penn’s all-female comedic musical troupe. The Bloomers Band usually takes popular songs and motifs from the moment and makes them their own during performances. One show, they performed the opening title theme for “Parks and Recreation” during scene changes. Monica spoke of how much she has enjoyed not only bonding with her band mates, but also with the comedy troupe as a whole.

When Monica is not playing music for Bloomers, she is doing biomedical research for Penn School of Medicine’s Department of Psychology. “I do a lot of pipetting,” she laughed, “I’m a research assistant and right now we are looking at the effects of pharmaceuticals for bipolar disorder have on neurons.” Monica went on to explain how they were focusing on the genetic mutations associated with bipolar disorder and how scientists are hoping this will aid in future pharmaceutical development. With the mention of bipolar disorder, our conversation turned toward mental illness and the recent controversy surrounding mental health in Penn’s community. “Mental health is an extremely tough subject, but I think that the conversation is moving in the right direction.”

After graduation, Monica plans to continue in biomedical research for a few years before applying to graduate school. One thing she’ll miss most about attending Penn, and what she is most known for within her friend group, is Philadelphia’s Restaurant Week.

Good luck, Monica! 

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