Kyle Loh
Researcher, Harvard Stem Cell Institute

Kyle Loh Reflects on the World of the Gifted and Talented

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The researcher contemplates his rare academic talent.

Kyle Loh

Big Think extends a warm thank you to Cogito and the Center for Talented Youth at John Hopkins University for facilitating this interview.


Question: What is it like being a 15-year-old junior at Rutgers?

Loh:    I’m an undergrad at Rutgers University in New Jersey and so currently I’m a junior and I have about a year left in my undergrad so I took what my friends liked to call sabbatical to Harvard to try to do some work but I hope to return and to be able to finish my undergrad degree and I once wanted to go to med school but then one of my mentors sat me down and said very prophetically, “Kyle, you’re never going to medical school, you’re going to graduate school.”  So I guess I’m going to grad school now.      

Question: Did your parents pressure you to pursue science?

Loh:    I’ll have to say, I’m very surprised when I say this is that a lot of it came from myself so that I know when I was very young, my parents would bring home books just to read for themselves or something and that I would just pick off these biology books just ‘cause I was bored or something and that I just really got excited into it and I think that it’s really impossible to do something if someone is telling you that you have to do it.  So I think that it’s really been important to me that I’m always really excited about science and that I pursue a lot of it by myself and I keep on trying to read and talk to new people and try to get new ideas and I think that’s what the fun is.   

Question: Are you interested in disciplines outside of science?

Loh: I think if you stay at one thing too much, it’s really unhealthy like staying in science too much can really be unhealthy, staying… being with girlfriends and in a relationship for a long time can be also unhealthy.  So in Rutgers, I tried to take a balanced course load so that I can advance my science goals but also liberal arts as well.

Question: What is your advice to other gifted and talented students?

Loh: I think that it’s really impossible to do something unless you really care about something and I think that’s a way for science and for academics and for friends.  And I think most importantly they just need to be some kind of functional connection that once you hit something, you know, it just kinds of clicks and that you need to aggressively pursue that a lot.  So I was very fortuitous that my first experience with science was stem cells and that was just a very natural fit and I think that the first really, really big step is just finding something that you believe in and then after that you can definitely make things happen.  And I know there’s been a lot of road blocks personally in my way but that I think if you really believed in something, you and your family and your friends can really make it go through.  And it’s a matter of finding good mentors and that knowing good professors at universities and those can help you just infinitely.