Growing up in Vietnam, where biology research had been underrepresented as an achievable profession, I never envisioned it would one day become my career. As a high school senior, I participated in an exchange student program in the United States, during which time I was hosted by a biology teacher. My conversations with this extremely passionate biologist sparked my interest in the field. Even so, I matriculated at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth for an engineering program due to positive career prospects in Vietnam. I later realized engineering was not the best fit for me, and instead decided to pursue my interest in biology at Drexel University.
I have successfully built a foundation of mentorship among freshman students both through my own research project and my teaching assistantship.
Prior to any hands-on experience, I considered research in the cancer field because I lost my father to this devastating disease. However, when I joined Dr. Daniel Marenda’s laboratory to study Alzheimer’s disease using a fruit fly model, my thinking changed. In this environment, the knowledge and fascination I gained from both my work on neurodegeneration and the work of others on neurodevelopment began to solidify my desire to pursue a research career in neuroscience. To achieve this goal, I enrolled in a 5-year BS/MS accelerated program to familiarize myself with graduate-level coursework and research.
My MS thesis focuses on understanding the mechanism of action and evaluating the therapeutic potential of cyclopamine, an anticancer drug, for Alzheimer’s disease using our fruit fly model. In my future PhD training, I am interested in studying how neurons develop and survive.
In addition, I have successfully built a foundation of mentorship among freshman students both through my own research project and my teaching assistantship at Drexel University. Therefore, my long-term goal is to inspire future generations of researchers through a career in academia. With research opportunities and the BS/MS program at Drexel that I have been fortunate enough to take advantage of, I am well prepared for this new and exciting chapter of my research journey.