Molecular & Cellular Biology

Revealing the secrets of nature & educating next generation of science innovators

MCB's 2014 Outstanding Senior: Julie Huynh

MCB's 2014 Outstanding Senior: Julie Huynh

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

At first glance, Julie Huynh seems like an ordinary college student.  I usually spot her in a casual T-shirt and shorts as she hops out of her lab to check on the lunch that's spinning in the microwave next to my office. She always stops by to say hello, to check on the latest picture of my 3-year-old, and to chat before heading back to her work. But Julie certainly isn't your typical college student. In fact, I think she might be the hardest working person I've met.

Majoring in both Molecular & Cellular Biology and Creative Writing, Julie also works as a science reporter for the Arizona Daily Wildcat, is Editor-in-Chief for Persona (the undergraduate magazine of art and literature at UA), helps out her parents at their restaurant, conducts research as a student in the Undergraduate Biology Research Program in Dr. Johnny Fares' lab, and still somehow manages to find time to eat, sleep, and study!  Here's what she has to say:

Q. What do you like most about being an MCB major?  A. I like how approachable the faculty are - they're all so brilliant but also so friendly at the same time! But I definitely appreciated the flexibility of the major, so I could explore different branches of science and also have the time to do a degree in the humanities.

Q. What were your favorite science courses? A. So many! Favorites were MCB 302, Cancer Biology (Dr. Schroeder is a phenomenal professor), ECOL 409, Evolution of Infectious Disease (Dr. Worobey does a lot of amazing research on influenze and HIV evolution, which was a huge chunck of the class, so it was a real treat learning from him), and MATH 363, Introduction to Statistical Methods (math has never been my favorite thing in the world, so it was challenging for me, but statistics is really important to learn and Dr. Watkins show you how it is applicable to so many fields). 

Q. What were your favorite non-science courses? A. ENGL 486, Topics in American Literature (this was the fourth and last class I took by Dr. Scruggs during my four years here and I was so sad when it ended, as he had a way of teaching you about literature and life) and all of my fiction and poetry workshop classes. (There's nothing quite like that feeling of satisfaction and dread when you're printing twenty copies of the story you finished last night at 3AM to give to the kids in your class to critique....)

Q. What is the single best piece of advice you would give to other students? A. (laughing) Hmmm... maybe "if you need more than three cups of coffee in a day, you are most likely not getting enough sleep." But yeah, I'm not 100% sure on that one though.

Q. What do you think you'll remember most about your time here as an undergraduate? A. Hands down, I will definitely my research experience with Dr. Johnny Fares. I never knew what graduate school even entialed in high school and look what I want to do now! Secondly, being Editor-in-Chief of Persona.  I used to getmagazines like Cricket and Spider every month throughout elementary school and they were the best things in the world! Being EIC of Persona and holdin each completed issue with all the artwork, poetry, fiction in it was definitely a five-year-old Julie dream come true.

Q. What do you want to do when you "grow up"? A.  I'll be staying here at UA for MCB's Accelerated Master's Program and applying for PhD programs next year. I know I'll be happy as long as I can still be doing research in any capacity in the future.