Meet Our Students, Staff, & Alumni

Meet Arda Hoke

Chatting about cars usually isn’t one of the many ways to get an internship at a prestigious research facility.

Yet that’s how Arda Hoke, 19, landed an internship at Scripps Research, where twice a week he works with immunology scientists seeking a cure for cancer.

Hoke said he was at an event – he doesn’t recall what the celebration actually was about – when he struck up a conversation with a man admiring his BMW Z4.

“We started talking about my car at first,” he said.”And then the conversation escalated from there. He asked where I was going, what I was majoring in, what I wanted to do, and.I was passionately telling him about my plans.”

Hoke told him about his love of computers, his success in a high school hack-a-thon, his interest in a UCLA technology summer session, his goal of owning a home by age 25 and his plan to launch his own start up when the time is right.

“After a while he said, ‘You look like a good kid. I see a young me in you. Come to my office.’”

It was then that the man introduced himself as a Scripps scientist, and he said he was looking for an intern. Hoke happened to be seeking an internship himself, and he has been at Scripps Research since January.

It’s not hard to see what the Scripps scientist saw in Hoke.

“It’s always been computers for me,” he said. “I started when I was young. I was the kid in the family who all the cousins and grandparents would ask if they had any trouble with technical devices.”

Hoke said his family moved to the United States from Turkey four years ago because his parents wanted him and his two younger brothers to get a better education. He enrolled in Torrey Pine High School but knew little English, so he formed a Turkish club at school to make friends, improve his language skills and teach other students about his home country.

He also joined the school’s Computer Science for the Common Good Club and was one of five members who participated in a 2022 "hackathon" computing competition held at San Diego State University. His team earned third place overall and first place in the category of geo-competitional thinking.

At Scripps Research, Hoke said he spends hours analyzing and performing specific tasks on data to assist scientists working on single-cell RNA sequencing.

“This could be a part of a scientific research paper if we find something, which is really cool,” he said.

Hoke said the internship is giving him a clear idea of how scientists live and work, and it’s helping him get a sense of what field he wants to pursue. He advises other student interns to talk to everyone and ask questions.

Hoke was recently accepted and will be attending UC Berkeley to study computer science, furthering his passion and dedication to the field.

“I ask questions every day,” he said. “And ask questions that make sense. They value you more, and you kind of get their attention and they want to help you more. And be social and talkative.”

< Back to all alumni