First he had to convince Max Essex. Elliot Eton had just graduated from high school when he ended up in Essex’s office. After receiving his acceptance letter to Harvard, Elliot assumed he’d begin college in the fall with the other freshmen. Then he read a letter from the Dean of Admissions, encouraging students to consider a gap year.
Vignettes by Caroline Park At the Botswana-Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership Lab (BHP) in Gaborone, Botswana, a handful of research scientists come in from 7:30 AM to 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday, and immerse themselves in their various projects. Who exactly are these scientists who toil under BHP’s roof? Where do they come from and what do they do in their spare time? To answer these questions, I briefly interviewed a…
By Elliot Eton Early on my first morning in Gaborone, I arrived at the Botswana-Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership (BHP) Research Lab and met Dr. Simani Gaseitsiwe, the Deputy Research Director. The night before, I had again reviewed several recently published articles he had sent to me, all analyzing immune system-driven HIV adaptation. He helped me synthesize this material, and we began to consider hypotheses to test.
Not many undergraduates have the opportunity to conduct their own laboratory research projects. Harvard students who spend a semester abroad at the Botswana–Harvard AIDS Institute Partnership (BHP) are a rare exception. Last year, Carlos Becerril, a pre-med social anthropology major, researched drug resistance among antiretroviral-naïve patients with recent HIV infection in Botswana.
This spring, three adventurous young women were the first Harvard undergraduates to study abroad in Botswana. The three biology majors lived on the campus of the University of Botswana and took classes there. The greater part of their education took place at the Botswana-Harvard Reference Laboratory.