Gavriel Kleinwaks, 23, is a mechanical engineering grad student at the University of Colorado. Until the Pandemic started she was working in a lab doing research. Not for now. Gavriel, a native of Maryland, is working from home and missing her co-workers, and her family too, but is finding comfort in Boulder’s natural beauty.
Six weeks ago, Gavriel got involved with a non-profit organization called 1Day Sooner. Its mission is to speed up the process of testing potential Covid19 virus vaccines. Gavriel has signed up to volunteer to be a vaccine tester in future challenge trials for the drug.
“If a volunteer is eligible after a series of medical concerns are ruled out, they will be given the vaccine in a controlled medical environment and then exposed to the virus to see if the vaccine works,” says Gavriel. “I feel strongly about this based on the Jewish ideal that to save a life is the most important thing a person can do.” 1Day Sooner has estimated that speeding up vaccine development by even one day could save 7,120 lives, and by three months, it could save over a half million lives.
“This ethos was ingrained in me my whole life. There are people who ask, ‘Aren’t you scared about your personal safety?’ I am scared, but I’m young and healthy. I’m lucky in that way, so I realized I could donate my health to improve other peoples’ lives.”
In addition to volunteering to be a vaccine tester for the organization, Gavriel is also doing some other work, including writing communication pieces, on their behalf. This experience may inform her career path in the years ahead. “I was already considering the field of scientific communications, which brings scientific information out of the lab to a wider audience,” she says. “The kind of work I am doing with 1Day Sooner has shown me this is a really good avenue for me, and something that I would find really fulfilling.”