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Caio Carcaioli Bonin

Caio Carcaioli Bonin

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Caio's Journey

Check back for more blog posts in future quarters!

More about Caio

Profile Updates - Spring Quarter, 2023   
Profile Updates — Spring Quarter, 2022

Pronouns: He/Him   
Hometown: Limeira, Brazil   
Stanford neighborhood: D   
Academic interests: Robotics, Anatomy, Medicine

Favorite class I took during fall quarter: NSUR 81N (Mitochondrial Transport and Function in Neuronal Health and Death). In this class, I studied different neurodegenerative diseases and researched with classmates biological approaches that could potentially lead to cures.

Winter quarter course I think I'll enjoy most: CS106A (Programming Methodologies). This will be my first time learning a programming language. I look forward to it!

Favorite hang-out on Stanford's campus: Engineering Quad, especially on Sunday afternoons.

Coolest student organization I joined since arriving: I have sadly not joined any student organizations, but I had a lot of fun participating in several of Ritmo’s workshops with friends!

Thing I miss most about home: Playing FIFA with my brother and BBQs with family and friends.

Primary reason I applied to Stanford and what I enjoy most about it so far: The primary reason I applied to Stanford is the ability to engage in research and take part in groundbreaking discoveries that can drastically and directly impact society. This quarter, I had the opportunity to participate in an IntroSem by professors who made a major discovery towards a cure for Parkinson’s Disease. It is just my first quarter here, but I already got to dissect a fly’s brain, learned how to transfect and image cells -- even what it means to do that, and toured the biotech company working with my IntroSem professor’s research results! I’ve been able to see and experience a clear connection between what happens in my classes to a direct impact on society.

Profile Updates — Spring Quarter, 2023

Coolest student organization I joined since arriving: Cardinal Free Clinics (CFC) and Brazilian Student Association (BSA)

Profile Updates — Spring Quarter, 2022

Favorite class I took during winter quarter: Surgical Anatomy of the Hand: From Rodin to Reconstruction (SURG 70Q). This class was insanely interesting. It gave me a preview of what medical school might look like. I even got to practice what I learned in class meetings by participating in a cadaver human hand dissection!

Spring quarter course I think I'll enjoy most: Mending a Broken Heart (ANES 74Q). I have been looking forward all year for this IntroSem! My mother suffers from a congenital heart disease that has greatly impacted her day-to-day life. Through this class, I hope to learn more about it and explore Cardiology as a potential medical pathway.

How did I pick my major and how did LSP help me prepare and//or launch my journey into this discipline?

Spring Quarter, 2023

Picking a major can become incredibly difficult when their titles are matched with the coolest images about what those disciplines entail. They all look inspiring. The first time I looked at the catalog, I noted down a little over 10 majors that interested me. That’s when I noticed I would have to be more focused on the search.

During LSP, I had the chance to meet with the academic director of the program, who helped me brainstorm the things I was most excited to experience at Stanford, and connected with me the resources to get there! Combining my interests for medicine and engineering, my list went down to 4 this time and I learned how to prepare 4-year plans to compare them. I even learned about specific classes and IntroSems that could help me get a taste for these fields.

LSP empowered me with resources to succeed in any career. In the classes following the summer program (UAR 42A and 42B), several topics were addressed to guide me through the process of getting started on my journey at Stanford and beyond. Efficient time management, building relationships with faculty, and creating a LinkedIn profile and elevator pitch were just some of the multitude of talks we had during fall and winter quarter of my Freshman year.

The community formed by LSP has provided me enormous and continuous support. During my Freshman year, I was connected with an LSP bioengineering alumni, who has talked to me about their work and even connected me with people, resources on-campus, and summer opportunities related to my interests. One of the student preceptors in LSP even helped revise my applications for these opportunities, which have been very valuable in making a decision on my major. I cannot be grateful enough for their extensive support to help me pave the way towards my future!

After talking to a lot of friends, advisors, alumni, and professors, I recently declared bioengineering. Some factors that motivated my decision were the classes that are part of this major (I get to build a full biomedical system for one of them :D), the alignment with Pre-Med requirements, and the community I found in the department.

The most amazing experience I had this past summer

Fall Quarter, 2022

Photo caption: Hunter Liu (co-worker) and I at our poster presentation session.

This past summer, I had the opportunity to do one of the things I looked forward to the most at Stanford: research. It was my first time working in a research lab and putting to action the famous “scientific method” we learn about in science classes. As a kid, I loved mixing all sorts of random stuff to make sizzling sounds, bubbles, and color changes. To my surprise, being a “scientist” is a bit different… It’s WAY more fascinating.

In the lab, I worked with another undergraduate student under the supervision of a postdoctoral fellow. We assisted him in a variety of projects, some of which included culturing cells and conducting viral infections on them (YES, viruses!), assisting with CRISPR screens, and testing the efficiency of compounds for enzyme inhibitions. The most difficult part for me was understanding the projects happening in the lab. Some of my friends have experienced the same, especially in their first time. It’s frustrating to not understand the purpose of the work or what’s being discussed at lab meetings, but this is a barrier that goes away with time. Reading articles, looking up the meaning of words, and asking for clarifications are ways to mitigate it. Eventually, you start connecting the pieces of the puzzle, and this feeling is very rewarding!

And… I cannot forget to mention that I had the opportunity to dissect a mice’s brain to collect neuronal cells for one of our postdoc’s projects. I have previously mentioned here the dissection components of some IntroSems I took, and these experiences have been mind-blowing to me. They have really intensified my admiration for anatomy.

Staying on campus over the summer was also a great experience in itself. I got to meet new people and places and even go through many adventures with friends in a week-long power outage. Overall, I got to enjoy our beautiful campus without worrying about the next problem set or midterm.

I strongly recommend any student to engage in research at some point in their undergraduate journey. Not only is it an opportunity to deeply study something that interests you, but also to consider future steps in your career. There are PLENTY of opportunities for that here at Stanford!

My most important takeaways from my first year at Stanford and how LSP relates

Caio and friends, Spring 2022

Spring Quarter, 2022   

“If it is already difficult for those who deserve to be there, imagine how hard it will be for you” – I thought to myself. When I got into Stanford, I accepted as a fact that I would be studying 24/7 and nothing else. In fact, I set myself up for that trap. It got to the point where I would feel nervous and stressed out if I was not doing the only thing I thought I came here for: studying. I felt guilty when doing other things that brought me joy, such as hanging out with friends or even taking a break to exercise.

During LSP, I was once asked: “What will you NOT let Stanford take away from you?” That question terrified me, but also made me realize that I was already giving myself up to it before it even started. Impostor syndrome is nothing but a trap that will take you down if you give it the attention it wants. Be yourself. There is not a formula for being a Stanford student, so do not even try to imagine or create one. LSP has empowered me to believe in my potential to do, here, whatever I want – to make the most out of my time here. LSP has acted as a bridge between Stanford and I. Beyond helping me navigate the resources and opportunities this place offers, it also helped me navigate and overcome the struggles and fears that being here can bring about.

Beyond all, LSP taught me that getting dinner with friends, splitting a Zipcar to go to Walmart or Half Moon Bay, or even just sitting around and chatting in the dorm are all part of the college experience. It is crucial to make time for that. Those used to seem “unnecessary” to me until I realized it was those moments of fun, laughter, and sharing that were the highlight of my quarter and gave me strength throughout the week or through another Pset. With all honesty, being here is hard. But it feels a lot lighter when you understand that you have a community of people supporting you along the way.

How I found community at Stanford through LSP

Caio Bonin plays guitar in his dorm room.

Winter Quarter, 2022

After 2 hours at the airport building the courage to ask for an Uber, I stepped on campus for the first time to participate in LSP. I was welcomed by ringing bells and people who already knew my name without ever seeing me before. I couldn't help but smile and eventually abandon all the negative perceptions I had about the “intimidating” Stanford that so many people described to me and I fantasized it to be. During the program, I met people from similar backgrounds as me – people that understood what I felt and where I came from, friends I identified with. I met preceptors whose stories I could relate to and advisors who have continued to support me through Fall quarter and beyond. I’m not alone. The community I found through LSP has empowered me daily to grow and turn into the highest tree in this vast field that Stanford is. Every time I open an email from our academic directors, go to our meet-ups, or simply run into one of my “LSPeers” across campus, a feeling of reassurance flows in me. I learned from LSP that coming from a simple immigrant family and being the first to go to college in the U.S. is not something to fear, but to be proud about coming into Stanford.