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2018-2019 was a year of achievement and growth. After my prereq’s came a barrage of challenging natural science courses, but I improved my work ethic and my grades remained steady. Meanwhile, I continued to participate in activities that I felt would lead to personal growth. To summarize my growth as a student and as an individual, I’ll return to the goals defined by the College of Arts and Sciences.
This year, I tried to takes courses and participate in activities that would make me a better ‘global citizen.’ To begin, I thought it’d be appropriate for a lifelong christian like me to learn about the other religions of the world. Dr. Hugh Urban’s class in Comparative Sacred Texts offered me the chance to do just that. In this class, we studied numerous sacred texts, including the Quran, the Torah, the Vedas, and even the teachings of a Native American holy man. As we delved into each religion, we considered its historical context, and we compared and contrasted its values to those of other traditions. We even visited several place of worship to meet with members of each faith.
Meanwhile, my volunteer work at the Legal Aid Society of Columbus afforded me a better appreciation of cultural and socioeconomic diversity. At the LASC, I help low-income individuals (specifically, US veterans) apply for disability compensation. I also help rehabilitated criminals with record expungement. Though it can be difficult to connect with individuals across such socioeconomic and cultural gaps (not to mention age), this experience helped me understand the struggles of disadvantaged individuals in and about Columbus Ohio.
Last semester marked my second consecutive year in Dr. Qi-En Wang’s laboratory at the Biomedical Research Tower. Now that I’ve narrowed the gap between me and my coworkers, undergraduate research has been much more rewarding. I’m more comfortable running my own experiments, troubleshooting problems in the lab, and participating in lab meetings, and these experiences have given me a healthy respect for the rigorous process of investigation, validation, and dissemination of new information. Last semester, I presented my instigation of cancer stem cell differentiation at the undergraduate research festival at the Ohio Union.
As I finish my sophomore year, I continue to shape my coursework to fit my research and my career goal of becoming a physician. My first class in biochemistry has already proven useful in the lab, and I have no doubt that future biochemistry classes will be the same. I expect MOLGEN 5300 to be especially relevant to both my research and my future career, since I work in a cancer lab and I’m entertaining the idea of being an oncologist.
In addition, I took several prerequisite classes in preparation for a minor in Insurance through the Fisher College of Business. Today, many doctors have described a shift in the medical field towards larger healthcare providers and less individualized care. In these circumstances, physicians may feel like they are losing their autonomy as they transition from smaller individual practices to a larger bureaucratic system. By minoring in Insurance, I hope to familiarize myself with the corporate aspect of healthcare. I think this will allow me to better navigate the healthcare systems as a physician, while also opening up potential career paths in healthcare administration.
I try to strengthen my leadership skills through teaching and service. For me, leadership means bringing others’ to follow your example. This year, I continued tutoring at a local middle school through Adopt-A-School, an OSU student organization. As a tutor, I have to establish a positive and productive atmosphere with my tutees. To this end, it’s not enough simply to maintain order or demand quiet. Rather, I have to acknowledge their words, recognize that their goals don’t always align with mine, and find ways to channel their energy down a productive avenue. When there’s a friendly and respectful relationship between a teacher and his subjects, he can set a positive example, and his subjects follow his lead because they don’t want to jeopardize that relationship. Now, as president of the student org, I take the same approach while training new members and working with other tutors.
As I’ve already mentioned, service has helped me grow as an individual and as a leader. In addition to my work and the LASC and with Adopt-A-School, I also volunteer with a local nonprofit organization called Pass the Class. PTC provides academic tutoring and career services for homeless youth in Columbus. As with Adopt-A-School, I try to lead by example when tutoring through PTC. I also assist with grant-writing, which comes effortlessly, thanks to my writing experience at the LASC and at the lab.
To broaden my perspective of different societies around the world, I plan to take several courses on the history and culture of regions outside the United States. Religious Studies 2102.02H will examine the sacred texts of religions around the world in order to compare the views of the universe, life, and morality around the world. History 2204H will talk about the history of Europe – a topic that is rarely covered in high school, especially pre-World Wars. I also plan to participate in at least one service trip on another continent, and am open to the idea of studying abroad.
Throughout my time at OSU, I plan to continue working in the BioMedical Research Tower as an undergraduate research assistant. My work has already complemented my coursework in biology and chemistry in numerous ways. For example, our work in the lab seeks to investigate how certain micro RNA fragments lead to the modification of messenger RNA and the differential expression of the genome – a concept first introduced in my introductory Biology class. As I accumulate more knowledge, I believe I will many more such connections, and I look forward to contributing more to the lab as my expertise increases.
By choosing a Biochemistry major and Sociology Minor, I picked a set of classes that would endow both technical expertise and cultural/social awareness. In other words, I hope my fields of study will not only give me some very specialized skills, but also a sense of purpose to guide my endeavors. My Biochemistry major will help me understand and manipulate the chemical reactions involved in metabolism, homeostasis, and the development of diseases. Meanwhile, my psychology and sociology classes will help explain why people behave in a certain way, and why society is structured as it is. These fields overlap in the areas of public health, and the study of health disparities among different socioeconomic categories in the United States. As I study the many cases of inequality in the US, I’m beginning to realize that a meaningful contribution to society involves more than just offering up one’s skills to some organization. To truly contribute to society, we need to actively identify sources of injustice or inequality and try to change them. Otherwise, our skills are just propagating the status quo.
To develop my skills as a leader, I plan to immerse myself in activities and roles that require cooperation and coordination. Several of my clubs, including Buckeyes for Mentoring and STEM Outreach, give me the opportunity to work with kids – something that forces me to develop my communication skills, as well as reflect on how I can be a better role model. These clubs also require club members to cooperate to develop new projects or to find better ways to connect with our mentees. I am also open to becoming a TA –
something that will entail a huge amount of responsibility.
As part of Stem Outreach Club, I’m helping Professor Betty Lise Anderson develop a cheap chemistry activity to bring the middle schools around Columbus as a part of OSU’s STEM Outreach program. This proposed activity, which will be associated with the holiday season, will involve dipping pine cones in various salts to create colored flames when burned. I hope that by developing this activity with the rest of the club, I will gain experience in leading community service events like these, and become more confident in taking the initiative in the future.
Many of the clubs I participate are clearly involved with community service. Stem Outreach focuses its endeavors on underprivileged schools in Columbus, with the aim of promoting interest in technology where school STEM programs may be inadequate or nonexistent. Buckeyes for Mentoring also focuses on underprivileged children who need positive role models in their lives. In addition, I am working as a research volunteer for the Legal Aid Society, a nonprofit organization that provides free legal services to veterans, the elderly, and the underprivileged. By researching various medical conditions, such as PTSD, I will help the lawyers at the LASC in their mission to ensure that veterans are compensated for the experiences they endured during their service.
[“Career” is where you can collect information about your experiences and skills that will apply to your future career. Like your resume, this is information that will evolve over time and should be continually updated. For more information, go to: http://honors-scholars.osu.edu/e-portfolio. Delete these instructions and add your own post.]
This semester, I began work in Dr. Wang Qi-En’s laboratory, in the BioMedical Research Tower at OSU’s Wexner Medical Center. As a research assistant, I get to see how many of the chemical principles from my General Chemistry classes are applied in the real world. Since I started, I’ve also become familiar with many of the most common techniques used in biomedical research, such as cell culture, protein assays, etc.
My name is Gordon Xie. I’m a first year Biochemistry major, who’s also interested in public policy and sociology. Though I am still learning the basics of biology, I’m interested in studying cancer one day – specifically, the genetic changes that lead to tumorigenesis. I’m especially interested in learning about social stratification, and how personal interactions, on a small scale, and societal structures, on a large scale, work together to produce inequality in society.
I am an enthusiastic person, who enjoys learning from many different sources and experiences. I think the best way to learn is by applying knowledge in new ways, whether it’s in research or scholarly discussions.