Jessica Nguyen

Where did you transfer from?

I attended North Hennepin Community College before transferring to the University of Minnesota.

Why did you want to come to the University?

The University of Minnesota gave me the feeling of “home”; however, I wanted to complete my liberal arts at North Hennepin Community College before I transferred to the University of Minnesota to pursue my bachelor's degree.

What did you research?

I joined my mentor Will Ratcliff, Jenn Pentz, and Chelsea Du Fresne in Michael Travisano’s lab to work on creating multicellular yeasts from single-celled yeasts to test evolution and natural selection on a microscopic level. I tested five multicellular yeast strains to determine what characteristics helped the yeast retain their multicellularity. I am thankful that my friend Ada Asouzu let me know about this exciting research opportunity.

What did you get out of this experience?

I had a lot of fun and enjoyed my time learning and researching. I had such a wonderful first-hand experience learning how research is performed. This experienced has helped me learn how to work effectively with a team, prepare samples of different yeast strains, and use a fluorescent microscope to examine yeast clusters and determine their densities using density gradient centrifugation. It also has helped reinforce the idea that scientific breakthroughs don’t happen overnight. Research is a process that takes time and patience. The patience and positivity that I brought to the lab everyday has helped me brainstorm approaches when taking on new challenges. If students have the opportunity to participate in research—immerse yourself in that opportunity!

What are your interests outside of school?

I love spending time with my family. In my spare time, I enjoy singing Christian songs, reading books, drawing, knitting, running, swimming, and playing guitar and recreational sports. I like learning new inspirational quotes because it keeps me motivated and lets me reflect on life.

Do you participate in any extracurricular activities?

I currently volunteer in UMN Oral Pathology lab, and I also volunteer as a patient visitor at UMN Fairview Hospital. I enjoy bringing smiles to everyone that I meet there. I also will be volunteering as Welcome Week leader. As a Multicultural Kick-Off Ambassador, I will be leading a group of students around campus and showing them the best-kept secret on their way to success (the Multicultural Center for Academic Excellence).

What are your plans for the future?

I am currently in the College of Biological Sciences working towards a B.S. in Genetics, Cell Biology and Development. With this degree, I wish to pursue dentistry. I plan on applying all the skills and scientific lessons I have learned to diagnose, treat, and educate my future patients to help them maintain their oral hygiene and their overall health.

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