Michelle Chen: Love as a Medicine

photocrati gallery

Posted on June6, 2015 by Michelle Chen

Ever since I was young, I always had the urge to help people.  Whether that was through lending my favorite blanket to a fellow camper because she was cold or donating cans of food to help a local soup kitchen, I always try everything to help as much as I can.  Now as a Health and Societies major student hoping to go to medical school in two years, I hope in the future that I will be able to nurture the sick especially as a doctor in programs like Doctors without Borders.  This is why I work in a pediatric oncology lab so I can donate my knowledge to cancer research in hope to find a cure one day.  I also volunteer at a rehabilitation hospital where I play the violin for the patients and staff.  One time on July 4th , I quickly scratched some notes onto a sheet and played the national anthem for the patients and everyone loved it.  I hope to be the type of doctor who has a strong focus on preventive medicine.  This is why I believe that surrounding ourselves with people and things we love and doing our favorite hobbies all help to create a healthy mental and social well-being.  My friends are able to do away with their stress from school and life through their artistic abilities like dance, music, and ice skating.  By recording the moments when we surround ourselves with the people and pets who we love and express ourselves through hobbies, photography is capturing the way that we nurture ourselves to prevent illness.

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Photography and Text by Michelle Chen, Copyright 2015.

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About the Author: Michelle Chen is a recent graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2015.  To read more articles by Michelle Chen, go to the search bar at the bottom of the page: type in author’s name, click the search icon.

Nina Zhu: Looking Forward

The Singh Center of Nanotechnology, Upenn

cuban house painted in pink with rooster out front on the lawn

Posted on April 25, 2015 by Nina Zhu

When I first began attending courses designated for my degree, listening to professors in windowless, dark buildings, my understanding of engineering did not expand beyond general math and science equations. Throughout my four years at the University of Pennsylvania, I have witnessed the construction and opening of a state-of-the-art building with a contemporary design on campus. At the same time, my outlook on the potential impact of engineering has also become brighter and more innovative.

cuban house painted in pink with rooster out front on the lawn

Quattrone nanofabrication facility

cuban house painted in pink with rooster out front on the lawn

The Singh Center of Nanotechnology is the newest building on the engineering side of campus, with extensive laboratory spaces as well as large conference rooms and ample forum space. The modern architecture of the building and its high ceilings allow for natural light to reflect onto the people and statues inside the building. The orange colored theme of the rooms in the building also brings brilliance to a building where researchers spend much of their time working with tiny nanoparticles. Especially under the sunlight, the orange walls brighten up the hallways for all who are inside.

cuban house painted in pink with rooster out front on the lawn

modern science lab Upenn

cuban house painted in pink with rooster out front on the lawn

Similarly, I have felt that as I have taken on more bioengineering related courses, my understanding of what my skills can create has grown. Beyond just mundane problem solving, I am developing skills that in the future can be applied towards building devices and pioneering solutions to address a variety of technical and medical problems. I feel that my understanding of engineering has matured into a more modern and complex realm, alongside the erection of such a grand and open building design. There is a bright potential for what engineering and hopefully my degree can contribute to improving society.

cuban house painted in pink with rooster out front on the lawn

Quattrone nanofabrication facility

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The construction of the building reflects the school’s confidence that nanotechnology will play a meaningful role in the future in science. I hope that with my degree, I too have the confidence to make important contributions to the scientific field.

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night shot nanotechnology science building  Upenn

cuban house painted in pink with rooster out front on the lawn

Photography and Text by Nina Zhu, Copyright 2015

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About The Author: Nina Zhu is a senior bioengineering major at the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2015.

Nina Zhu: Future Fears

portrait of asian college student at the University of Pennsylvania

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Posted on March 12, 2015 by Nina Zhu

For some, the idea of the unknown and the endless possibilities in the future is exhilarating. For others, the future only indicates more chances to make mistakes. Amy’s unclear future is frustrating to her. She doesn’t know what final career path her life will take. She’s spent hours working on classes in the engineering building to create medical devices and solve complex math derivatives, never quite sure if any of it will pay off in the end. But with the constant talk of ten-year college reunions as we near graduation, Amy can’t avoid her discomfort with her unclear future any longer.

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At times, it feels as though the fate of her future is in everybody else’s hands but hers. Recruiters will determine if she’s qualified for a job, school administration will determine if she’ll be successful in graduate school. She can only put her best foot forward, but she will never get the honest opinions or get into the minds of those directly influencing her future. She will never know what they truly want from her.

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Portrait of asian college student at Upenn

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The anxiety of being completely unclear as to what her life will look like after she obtains her master’s degree used to chew away at her. Amy knows that she wants to become a professor after her schooling but is also cognizant about the intense competition required to be successful in such a career. She truly doesn’t know if she will reach her goal after all is said and done.

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Yet, as she’s watched her peers take on their first jobs, she’s found more peace with her uncertain future. She understands that she can only control so much. So, instead of focusing her energy obsessing over that which she cannot control, she’s chosen to focus on the positive aspects in her life. She has supportive friends and family and she’s gained an immense amount of knowledge these past four years. Amy is surrounded by love and laughter and for now, those are the only things she truly has control over.

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asian student blowing a kiss Upenn

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Photography and Text by Nina Zhu, Copyright 2015

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About The Author: Nina Zhu is a senior bioengineering major at the University of Pennsylvania, Class of 2015.