Summer Reflection 2021

I think it’s hard to appreciate what you are given when you wish upon what it could have been. This whole summer, I thought about how I could be visiting family in California, doing research at Johns Hopkins University, attending a research conference at the National Cancer Institute, and hanging out with my friends without worrying about contracting a life-threatening disease. I suppose, like many things in life, the experience that I imagined for myself is not reality. Nonetheless, I am grateful for the people and programs who have granted me the best summer experience that could have happened given the circumstances. 

By mid-March, I had received rejection emails from almost all the summer programs I applied to. For the three months that I only received emails that began with “Thank you for your application, but…”, my usual upbeat attitude began to diminish as I settled with the fact that I would be spending my summer at home. As a participant in Ohio State’s Second-Year Transformational Experience Program (STEP), I was given funding to complete research at any summer program I could get accepted to. 

With my lack of luck at the time, I decided to use the funding for my current research with the James Cancer Hospital. I would also spend my time as a General Chemistry Lab TA. After an initial rejection from one of the programs, a virtual alternative was provided in which I was accepted. The program was hosted by NCI Systems Biology and Physical Oncology Summer Undergraduate Research Program where I would join 24 other undergraduates in research across the country and was able to transfer my STEP funding to this program.

I worked on reconstructing venous invasion in pancreatic cancer using a 3D imaging method called CODA in MATLAB at Johns Hopkins University. This was the first time I ever used MATLAB and I can confidently say that it was fun to learn, but not something I see myself studying in the future. I’ll have a separate post about my research here. With the help of Johns Hopkins Institute for NanoBioTechnology, I also participated in The Leadership Alliance’s Virtual Professional Development program which helped prepare and recruit students for graduate school. 

While I worked at JHU, other fellows were doing research around the nation. Towards the middle of the 10-week internship, we had a virtual conference–some of the best 2 days of my summer. We got to learn more about the other students, hear from patient advocates, and share our research during an interactive poster session. Throughout the summer, we also met twice a week to learn the programming language, R, and incorporate genomic data to identify genes that impact metastatic breast cancer. 

Bioinformatics was not new to me. In fact, my research at Ohio State uses bioinformatics to better understand sarcoma cancer. I work on the “bio” portion of bioinformatics and have been in the long process of developing palbociclib-resistant dedifferentiated liposarcoma (DDLPS). I’ll have more information here.

My summer was more than teaching and research, thankfully. I spent a weekend at my final National Association of College and University Residence Halls (NACURH) conference as Ohio State’s Residence Halls Advisory Council (RHAC) Director of Programming. Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE) at Ohio State also began planning our schedule for the school year. As the Director of Marketing, I am working on creating social media posts–a great way to relax and focus on creative activities. I celebrated my brother’s high school graduation as he plans on attending Columbus College of Art & Design for animation, my family and friend’s high school graduations, and summer birthdays. Camp Kesem was also held virtually, but we got to meet some campers in person before Kesem at Home began.  

Looking forward, I cannot wait to move back into the Residence Halls. There’s something comforting about having a living space that is 100% yours. All of my classes are in-person and I am hoping that we can safely stay that way. As for my research, the review paper I wrote last summer is in the process of being published and I will be presenting my findings at research conferences and as my senior thesis. My applications for graduate school (for Cancer Biology programs) will also be sent out next semester as I gain the courage to press “Submit” *cross our fingers*.

Updated 8/11/2021: Remember how I wished I could go on vacation? Well, I did. I traveled to Washington, D.C., and got to see a few museums and the National Zoo and, most importantly, relax. It was a solid 3 days where I didn’t think about work or school or my internship, and it was 110% necessary.

Third Year in Review || 2020-2021

Autumn 2020

  • Moved into Jones Tower (a single room): with COVID and the start of my third year in college, it was nice to have space for myself while keeping the company of neighboring students in the residence hall.
  • Virtual Event Planning with the Residence Halls Advisory Council: this was the first time I had to plan virtual events, but with the help of the newly formed Programming Committee, my Executive Board members, and other Universities, we planned a diverse range of online events.

September – October 2020

  • Joined College of Arts & Sciences Student Council: as my interest in supporting and advocating for the student body increased, I found the Student Advisory Board for my college which also introduced me to the Dean’s Student Advisory Board where we discussed solutions to manage mental wellness, COVID-19, the grading system, and international student representation.
  • Joined the Society of Asian Scientists and Engineers (SASE) at Ohio State: because of my own insecurities, I made a conscious effort to stray away from other Asians or Asian Americans, but after reflecting, I joined SASE where I met other students with similar upbringing and passions.
  • Online adjustment with Wonders of Our World (WOW): originally, WOW would visit Columbus City Elementary Schools to conduct experiments with the students, but we transitioned into a virtual organization since we could not visit the schools and I became one of the heads of our social media team.
  • Met with other student leaders with Senior Vice President of Student Life: as one of the Executive Board members of RHAC, I was given the opportunity to work with Dr. Melissa Shivers and student leaders from other organizations to discuss our approach to University COVID testing and other safety precautions the University should take.
  • Intro to Forensic Science and Career Changes: despite the interesting careers and theories introduced in this course, I realized that a career in forensic science is not for me. My professor brought in individuals from a range of forensic fields and none of them seemed quite content with their jobs, and I don’t believe I would be either. I originally wished to prevent innocent incarceration using science, but I realized that a forensic scientist does not have that ability. I crave continuous learning and interaction with people I impact, so I have pursued a career in academia, instead. See Resume (updated 5/11/2021) and Research Resume (updated 5/11/2021).
  • Teaching General Chemistry Labs during COVID-19: during Spring 2020, we transitioned from fully in-person labs to fully online labs. During Autumn 2020, we split students into smaller groups so they could still experience in-person labs, but it would be less often to accommodate all groups. Despite the challenges, my students excelled and made an effort to participate during class and ask questions. Chemistry 1210 is one of the hardest courses, in my opinion, and I know that the base skills they have developed in this course will help them in the future.

November – December 2020

  • Black Lives Matter and RHAC Support: RHAC’s Director of Student Advocacy, Teya LeBlanc-Hill, and her advocacy committee developed an Anti-Racism Statement that was approved and edited by our Executive Board. To support our Black students and the Black community, we are making conscious efforts to prioritize Black representation across all RHAC systems, host educational support/development opportunities, and promote collaboration with businesses that comply with our anti-racist guidelines.
  • Athletic Band Recording: despite COVID-19, the athletic band was able to practice in small groups and with proper PPE. We had a recording session in the stadium at the end of the semester where I got to see my old friends and make music once again.
  • Classes end: with a focus on how students learn and how I learn best, I’ve gained an appreciation for exceptional professors. Dr. Gopalan (Biochemistry 5613) and Dr. Soory (Physics 1250) made an effort to organize their Carmen page, adjust their teaching methods using screen sharing, asking questions to engage students and promote discussion, and created assessments that accurately covered material.

January – April 2021

  • Classes begin: I took the semester a little easier to focus on finishing my language General Education course, Korean. This was one of my best semesters and had my favorite classes so far. Biochemistry 3 covered the central dogma of biology and I found myself engaged in discussions and ready to learn. Both studying and taking the assessments were enjoyable. Biochemistry Lab was also one of my favorite classes. We worked individually due to COVID restrictions, but I got to complete experiments such as protein purification and site-directed mutagenesis PCR which is similar to what I hope to do in future research labs.
  • Research Lab is finally making some progress: for the past two years, I have been developing drug-resistant cells in my lab so we can compare protein concentrations in parent and resistant cells so we can create a protein profile for patients who may be prone to drug resistance. We’ve had to freeze down the cells because of COVID and now they are up and running so progress is being made.
  • Athletic Band performance at Spring Game: the A-band had the opportunity to perform for the first time in over a year at a live athletic event. We practiced for a month prior to the game and were able to march and play outdoors with the football team and fans around us.
  • Got fully vaccinated! Still got to wear that mask, though 🙂

May 2021

  • Received STEP Scholarship: to support my summer research with my current lab, I will be using my Second-Year Transformational Experience Program (STEP) funding.
  • Accepted as the Co-Marketing Chair for SASE: I am so appreciative of the community of Asian Scientists and Engineers. I knew I had to be more involved in the organization and am pleased to be on the Marketing Chairs for SASE. As an Executive Member, I will also be able to emphasize the recruitment and retention of scientists, as I am currently the only non-engineering major
  • Accepted into the NCI Systems Biology and Physical Oncology Summer Undergraduate Research Program at Johns Hopkins University to further develop a new imaging method of tumors in 3D at single-cell resolution to study venous invasion in pancreatic cancer
  • Looking onwards to Graduate School: I’m planning on attending graduate school for a Ph.D. in Cancer Biology to become a professor and researcher. Looking at faculty members’ research ignites new interests that I would have never looked into on my own.

Summer Plans

  • Continue research with my current lab at The James Cancer Hospital Solove Research Center with the CDK4-inhibitor-resistant dedifferentiated liposarcoma cell lines
  • Teach Session 2 General Chemistry lab
  • Start the NCI Summer Research Program at Johns Hopkins University
  • Continue planning events for residents at Ohio State. We can now have in-person events and off-campus events, so it’s very exciting!
  • I’ve been obsessed with polymer clay earrings, so I am going to try to make my own. Cross our fingers!
Arts & Sciences Student Council Photo for 2020-2021. Jocelyn is the 3rd person from the left in the 2nd row
Arts & Sciences Student Council 2021-2022
RHAC Group Photo for 2020-2021. Jocelyn is the 4th person from the left. Group is standing outside of Mirror Lake.
Residence Halls Advisory Council 2020-2021

Second Year in Review || 2019-2020

As I reflect on the changes that the community made on me and the changes I made on the community, I recognize how genuinely happy I am–academically, socially, financially, physically, and mentally. It hasn’t sunk in that I am halfway through my undergraduate career and I don’t think it ever will. I have experienced more than I could ever imagine but I also have so much left to explore. From my first day at Ohio State, I was welcomed by the staff and students and I cannot thank the University and everyone in it for giving me opportunities to develop my global awareness, interpersonal skills, academics, personal wellness, and my community. 

The Residence Halls Advisory Council serves as the voice of Ohio State’s on-campus students and is the governing organization for all campus residence hall councils. As the Director of Programming, I managed bimonthly on and off-campus events to represent all residences’ interests such as a trip to COSI, axe throwing, Mean Girls the musical at Ohio Theater, and a lego Brutus building event. I’ve been able to meet student leaders, directors of dining, sustainability, and housing, and Ohio State residents. They inspire and drive me to step past my boundaries to contact resources who can share diverse experiences ranging from cultural backgrounds to musical tastes that can represent our students’ identities. During these events and meetings, I contributed my ideas and built off of others to encourage growth in individuals and in the community. I have had the opportunity to speak in front of small and large crowds and ensure that each person I meet feels welcomed and educated. 

It is my duty to teach and learn from others and there has been no better opportunity to experience this than my teaching assistant position. After 2 semesters of teaching, I have been so rewarded by seeing the progress of my students. Being able to directly interact and teach through hands-on experience is one of the best ways to learn and I want to facilitate and encourage their growth. I’ve learned to understand concepts to the point that I can form connections between everything–making it easier to teach others from different perspectives and relate it to real-life scenarios. Working with college students has been life-changing as well because I am able to build a community of students who aren’t afraid to ask questions, who can struggle but also learn together, and I want to build a trustful relationship that many students don’t get to make with their professors. 

I’ve also had the opportunity to work with Columbus City Elementary students with Wonders of Our World (WOW). Their creativity and engagement inspire me to do what I do. Learning is a never-ending process. I teach a single concept in each unit, yet I learn something new every time I explain it. Whether I learn how students think or if I learn a random fact about the unit, I am embracing the curious aspect of science and encouraging others to do the same. Even as the instructor, I am continuing to learn from others academically and interpersonally. Interacting with youth has influenced me to pursue a potential career in education and youth leadership. I recognize the impact teachers and other adult figures have on youth and I want to ensure every individual is surrounded by the necessary resources they need to thrive. 

My interest in youth leadership only grows as I work with students from all around Ohio. Camp Kesem is a community that supports children through and beyond their parent’s cancer. This group of people–the college students, the parents, and the campers–have given me the opportunity to be myself and support those who need it most. I have seen what strength and perseverance look like and I’ve felt the unconditional love that this community brings. People of all different backgrounds come together to support one another and I hope to make the same impact on everyone I meet that this community has made on me.

All of my extra-curricular activities have made a life-changing impact on me but my academics and research have also shaped who I am. My second year has easily been the hardest time of my life. I overwhelmed myself and did not dedicate the time to stay on top of my studies, but I got through it. I learned to make connections, to understand the basics before advancing, repetition is the key to success, and I learned that people are always here to help. While I struggled through my courses, I always enjoyed learning. It was such a relief to know I picked the right major for me. I took my first biochemistry course and from the first week, I knew this was the place for me. My research that I started last summer only solidified my interest in biochemistry. I’ve been able to run my own experiments and conduct research inside and outside of the lab. This past semester I also took a Classical Mythology course (CLAS 2220H) and it was one of the best in-person and distance-learning courses I’ve ever taken. The class was about 25 students and mostly discussion-based so I got to get to know everyone’s names and engage with them in intellectual conversation while learning about Greek myth. The professor, students, and course material make it one of the best classes I’ve taken and I would recommend it to anyone. 


Short life update: I’ve stayed sane during quarantine thanks to my family, my internship got canceled which was the worst news I’ve ever received but I was not surprised, I’m getting back into dance (ballet) at home and working on my physical fitness, I am also getting back into music (piano/viola/flute), and I am still involved in athletic band and plan to continue for all 8 semesters.

Summer plans: National Residence Halls conference will be on Memorial Day weekend. I will continue to plan programs for students in the residence halls while keeping social distancing in mind. Since my internship was canceled, I will be working from home and continuing my research (students are still not recommended to come on campus). I will also review for autumn courses before classes begin.

Summer Reflection 2019

This summer has been one of the most eventful and impactful 3 months I have experienced. With little time to relax, I have been surprisingly reflective and appreciative of what and who I have around me. I’ve learned that hard work pays off, that what you give out is what you get back, that one interaction can change someone’s day or even their life, and that I am extremely happy with who I am and where I am in my life.

Jaxon, my dog, and one of my greatest supporters.

Good Things Are Happening

I started working after school ended. I was back at Magic Mountain–like Chuck E. Cheese but with a not-as-scary mascot and a better play gym–for about 3 days until I had to resign. Around this time I was given great news: I was going to be a camp counselor for 3 different summer camps that I absolutely adore, I got a full-time research position at the Wexner Medical Center and a part-time research position with the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, I was going to be a General Chemistry Lab TA, I would be attending a leadership conference with a student government organization from Ohio State, and my family and I would be going on a vacation to California to visit my grandparents. This news also meant that I would be in Ohio every other week of the summer which is why I resigned from my position and began to appreciate the little time I was able to spend with my friends and family. I realized how grateful I should be to have a group of extremely supportive, caring, and genuinely amazing people surrounding me.

Summer Camp Love

Being surrounded by children was life-changing. The strength, intelligence, and creativity that youth possess is truly inspiring and I want to work with them for the rest of my life. Camp Kesem was the first summer camp I attended this summer. It is a national program with chapters at college campuses throughout the states with the goal of helping children through and beyond a parent’s cancer. Through this camp, I’ve learned how to empathize and understand people’s stories, to listen and learn, to care for people that I may only see for 15 minutes of my life, and to open myself up to new experiences. The Kesem love and magic is real and life-changing*. The second summer camp I attended was the Olentangy Summer Strings Camp (my 10th-year anniversary at the camp and 5th-year anniversary as a counselor) which gives students a chance to play orchestral music with students from around their school district while participating in outdoor activities. My third camp was my old high school’s band camp which is a week-long intensive training camp for marching band which also promotes team-building and youth leadership. 3 words: youth are amazing; I am and will forever be inspired by their talent and passion. These camps have taught me how to be a problem-solver, an empathizer, and a friend. I am forever grateful for the people who I’ve met through these programs because they are the motivators that inspire me to push forward and be myself.

Volunteer Work

When I wasn’t at summer camp, I was working in the lab. It is amazing to be working with such intelligent students and staff. I’ve never felt so underqualified in my life than during lab meetings but I didn’t mind one bit because I absorbed whatever I could. There was never a day in the lab that I didn’t learn something new. I am currently carrying out a couple of my own independent projects on sarcoma cancer and I am happy to be in the position I am now where I am a learner, a student, and a researcher. Over the summer I have also been planning off-campus events for residential students at Ohio State. As the Executive Coordinator of OSU’s Residence Hall Advisory Council (RHAC), I am in charge of planning monthly off-campus and on-campus events for students to enhance personal development and encourage service in the community. Through this, I have become an intense organizer and time manager as well as an even bigger fan of Google Drive.


I discovered many things about myself this summer: I am interested in the way people think (I want to know people’s experiences, their stories, and their feelings), I miss music and dance, I live and learn and let go, I want to work with children in the future, I absolutely adore science, I love everyone around me, and I am completely content with my life. I’ve learned so much in these past 3 months and I cannot wait for the next season to start.

Respect. Discover. Learn. Understand. Create. Impact. Repeat.

* for more info about Camp Kesem visit: or donate at:

First Year in Review || 2018-2019

The past 8 months have been indescribable. Time really does fly when you do things that you love.


Some of the most impactful and life-changing moments at OSU have been volunteer events. From Pay It Forward to Ronald McDonald House’s Buckeye Chapter to the Wonders of Our World program, I have been given opportunities to work with diverse groups of people with a common goal of bettering society. Wonders of Our World is a science education outreach program that connects undergraduate students with elementary school students in Columbus City schools. We work with varying ages to share interactive and educational science experiments to promote STEM fields and education. I believe everyone should work with young students at some point in their lives. Communicating with individuals of different backgrounds, diverse interests, and amazing imaginations is something that can only be discovered by working with children. I admire these individuals and I cannot thank them enough for the change they’ve made in my life. I hope to continue working with elementary school students, especially in the Columbus City School District.


The transition from yearly courses to semester courses is one of the factors that have led to my fast-paced college life. I’ve experienced the large 500-person lecture halls, the small 20-person courses, and the 5-person recitations–and enjoyed every single one of them. I’ve been able to conduct research on solar cells and present my findings with my peers, designed a research poster and gave my first poster presentation, and recorded a podcast-like review on the ethnography, Gangsters Without Borders (10/10 would recommend). I’ve somehow made it on the Dean’s List and that is now one of my driving factors to push myself academically. With fast-paced and individualized courses, I’ve learned to ask for help and take time to admit that I am struggling, but I’ve also worked harder than I ever have before and it’s a rush that I don’t plan on giving up any time soon.


Personal wellness is stressed at this University and I like to think I’ve been living a healthy life. But with unlimited access to cereal and samosas, you bet I’ve been hardcore snacking. Convenient gyms are a life-saver, though, as I spend late nights biking and listening to some StarKid musicals. I was surprised to see what a difference being healthy can do to someone. With a couple of nights comprised of more than 4 hours of sleep, some actual fruits and vegetables, more than 0 oz. of water, and bike rides, I was a new woman. Too bad I realized this feeling at the end of the year…

|| SUMMER ||

Just a couple of things that keep me going…

  1. NACURH Conference: I’ll be going to Louisiana State University for a Residence Hall Conference with OSU’s Residence Hall Advisory Council.
  2. California: A much-needed vacation to visit family and a time to embrace a weekend of non-Ohio weather.
  3. Camp Kesem: A year of hard work and preparation for this summer camp will all be worth it to see these kids. The Kesem community is one of a kind and I am beyond excited to spend a week with them.
  4. Research: I’ll be doing some research on undergraduate learning styles–a fun little project… stay tuned.