Previous Institution: University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
While growing up, I had the privilege of living in three different countries with three very different educational systems. It has always been complicated for me to answer the question, "Where are you from?" Born in Oak Ridge, Tenn., to a Taiwanese couple, I moved to Singapore at an early age. Through Singapore’s education system, I had the fortune of starting lab research when I was 13. Over the span of 5 years, I worked in 5 different labs in myriad fields: including plant physiology, entomology, ferrofluidity and microbiology. My passion for research directed me to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where I sought out and worked under Dr. Jason Reed studying the effects of stomatal regulation by SMALL AUXIN UP RNA (SAUR) proteins. The lab had no graduate students or post-doctoral fellows, allowing me to interact closely with Dr. Reed and his research assistant Dr. Punita Nagpal. I learned techniques from molecular and proteomic to microbiological and organismal studies. I designed, implemented and monitored my own project, from creating transgenic Arabidopsis thaliana lines to studying their responses to stress hormones and light.
Given my diverse background, I developed an interest in the fields of Microbiology, Cell Biology, Neurobiology and Biotechnology due to the intersection of the fundamental sciences and applicability to the larger picture. Having delved in a broad number of fields, I am excited and open to pursuing research in a whole different direction. Columbia's Biosciences program provides such flexibility with its rotational and interdisciplinary approach to Biology. Furthermore, I am interested in further exploring my passion for education at a tertiary level. Having taught Biology at Chapel Hill's top High School, I wish to look further into the Teaching Fellows program here at Columbia. My aspiration to enter academia rides not only on my pursuit of knowledge, but also preparing myself to educate the future generations of STEM scientists.