Franklin Regional senior’s tough decision? Choosing between elite colleges
No one likes to make a difficult decision.
But it helps when that decision is which of four of the most prestigious academic institutions in the United States to attend for college.
As he considered his post-secondary education, Franklin Regional senior Bhav Jain had to choose among acceptance letters from Johns Hopkins, Princeton, Penn and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
“It’s been a roller coaster ride the past few months,” said Jain, 17, of Murrysville, who ultimately chose MIT after visiting all four campuses. “I’ve missed a ton of school.”
Missing school seems like a near-impossibility for Jain, who is a National Merit scholar, a drum major with the marching band, a participant in the USA Biology Olympiad and a member of the FR tennis team.
Jain’s goal is to earn a degree in biomedical engineering, designing medical devices for surgeons.
“My long-term goal is to gain the knowledge of an engineer, and to eventually become a doctor,” he said.
Choosing MIT gives Jain access to cutting-edge development in both disciplines.
“Boston is known as a Mecca for medicine,” he said. “It’s very focused on that. And MIT has been consistently ranked very high in innovation and fostering entrepreneurship.”
Jain is truly the product of an international upbringing, having spent the first eight years of his life in Canada before moving to the United States. He said he is an amalgamation of the United States, Canada and his Indian heritage.
“A typical day at our home includes blueberry pancakes with authentic Canadian maple syrup for breakfast, vegetarian hot dogs with ketchup for lunch, and naan roti with kadai paneer curry for dinner,” he said.
And he is not satisfied with simply being an excellent student.
When he was involved with the USA Biology Olympiad in 2017, Jain created an online community to provide resources for Olympiad participants in an open-source setting. The past three years, he has also brought the open-source concept to a computer-aided drug discovery research project focused on expanding small-business access to protein and drug models.
“Only big pharmaceutical companies have access to expensive technology allowing them to model drug responses and interactions in-brain,” Jain said. “This (project) really encouraged me about the potential to have a tangible impact on society through research.”
Jain has volunteered at Forbes Regional Hospital, and shadowed neuro- and cardiovascular surgeons at Allegheny Health Network hospitals as he prepares for college.
“I’m looking forward to being challenged like I haven’t before,” he said.
That is not to downplay the education he has received at FR — far from it.
“I do not know how the learning experience will be at the university, but my Ivy League (development) truly started at Franklin Regional,” he said. “The way (high school principal) Mr. (Ron) Suvak and all the teachers encouraged my enrichment, and created opportunities for me, is un-paralleled.”
Jain is confident he’s well-prepared for what lies ahead.
“I’ll be surrounded by the smartest people in so many disciplines and fields,” he said of his first semester at MIT. “It can be easy to get caught up, but I think I’ll be inspired by all of the genius around me.”
Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .