Congratulations to Elizabeth To Tien Vuong, MCB’s Outstanding Senior for Fall 2017! The community-minded Liz is known not only for her academic excellence but also for her work to engage fellow MCB majors and help them feel welcome and supported, including as current vice president of the MCB Club.
“Liz exemplifies everything you want a student to be,” said Marisa Lester, MCB Senior Undergraduate Academic Advisor. “She’s a hard worker who is also very friendly and personable, and she is passionate about all things MCB.”
The hard work Vuong has put in is paying off, not only with her recognition as Outstanding Senior, but also with her recent acceptance to UA’s Pharmacy School, where she will start in the fall. Vuong is looking forward to applying her MCB degree to her goal of becoming a pharmacist.
“I love the enthusiasm and support MCB majors get from faculty and fellow students,” Vuong explains. “The coursework is hard, but there’s a sense of camaraderie and the passion of the faculty influences students. The knowledge I’ve gained is going to help me a lot in graduate school, especially working in a lab.”
Modest, but confident and outgoing, Vuong has sought to ensure the MCB Club is helping to build that camaraderie.
“When I started out in MCB, I didn’t know anyone,” Vuong recalls. “Being on a board allowed me to reach out and create a positive environment. I think students shouldn’t be afraid to reach out to students or faculty, and they shouldn’t be afraid of being judged for the academic decisions they make. If something doesn’t work out, there is another way to get there—just don’t let fear stop you.”
Fellow MCB Club board member, President Shelby Batchelor, says Vuong will be missed.
“Having gotten to know Liz for two years now, I can honestly say she genuinely cares about helping create a community amongst MCB students,” Batchelor states. “She is always so friendly to anyone new in the club and continually thinks of new ways to involve more MCB students.”
Vuong may miss MCB, but is looking forward to taking the next step towards her goal of serving the Vietnamese-speaking community in Southern California, where she was born.
“I remember growing up in the community and having a community pharmacist who was bilingual,” Vuong explains. “I am one of the few people I know of my age who is bilingual, and I want to give back to the community. I see families struggling to understand medical terms and information about drug interactions. I would like to work at a hospital pharmacy to help ensure people get the information they need.”
Working as a pharmacy technician trainee at a community pharmacy in Tucson, Vuong is already helping local patients understand their treatments, whether in English or Vietnamese. She got her first insight into how drugs work while taking MCB 325 Biology of Cancer.
“Cancer biology was my favorite class,” Vuong shares. “I remember Dr. [Justina] McEvoy talking about breast cancer therapies, and I was fascinated by how the drugs worked. That class really helped validate my decision to be a pharmacist.”
UA also helped Vuong form close friendships, and she is focusing on spending time with her friends before graduating in December.
“We are foodies,” Vuong confesses. “The owners at our favorite restaurants know us we go so often. We love Asian comfort food—places like Wings and Rice or Samurai. Boba tea, however, is definitely my favorite.”
We’ll know where to find Vuong when we want to catch up with her to hear about pharmacy school!