Why did you choose graduate school at IUPUI?
Cancer research has always been of interest to me. In that regard, Indiana University School of Medicine has the Melvin and Bren Simon Cancer Center. This is home to several laboratories pursuing exciting work in this field, such as the lab I ended up in, Dr. Tao Lu’s in the Dept. of Pharmacology. Hence, it was a perfect match to my professional career interests and I decided to choose the PhD program here. On a more personal level, Indianapolis (Indy) is a great city to live on a budget. I lived on the West Coast before moving to the Midwest, which made me deeply appreciate the reasonable cost of living here, especially on a graduate student income. For both these reasons, I decided to go to graduate school at IUPUI.
What has been your favorite academic accomplishment since you’ve been here?
My favorite academic accomplishments include winning the Charles R. Bantz Award of Excellence, and being named as one of the Elite 50, an award that recognizes curricular and extracurricular achievement of top 50 students among IUPUI’s 8,100 graduate student population. The Charles R. Bantz Award for Excellence is awarded to the student with the highest ranking among all applicants.
What do you enjoy most about life in Indianapolis?
Indy has a great mix of people with diverse backgrounds and it has been an absolute pleasure to get to know some of these folks through volunteering and social events in the community. Living in the downtown area with several restaurants, farmers’ markets and local businesses within walking distance has been fun to explore over the past years. Several state parks in the vicinity including Brown County, McCormick’s Creek and Turkey Run as well as the Monon Trail offer an opportunity to get outdoors and away from city life. I also enjoy walking along the downtown canal for some much-needed respite after long days in the lab. Overall, Indy is a great fit for the graduate student lifestyle as it provides most perks of living in a big city at a reasonable price.
Please provide some details about your work/research as a graduate student and/or any activities you are involved in.
My research project has focused on examining the role of an enzyme called protein arginine methyltransferase 5 in pancreatic and colon cancers. We found this enzyme to be extremely important in the context of these cancers. Furthermore, we identified a promising compound with anti-cancer properties through high throughput drug screening, with the ultimate goal of developing effective therapeutic strategies to combat these deadly diseases. My graduate work has resulted in 11 peer-reviewed publications and a patent. For this, I am thankful to my mentor, Dr. Tao Lu and the Graduate School for providing excellent mentoring and professional development opportunities.
I am passionate about volunteering. IUPUI and Indy have provided several opportunities in organizations on-campus as well as in the local community for me to do so, including:
- President and Treasurer | Communicators at IUPUI club
- Graduate Student President | Department of Pharmacology
- President | NetworkIN Committee
- International Graduate Student Welcome Volunteer | Office of International Affairs at IUPUI
- Student Ambassador | Graduate Student Recruitment Campus Visits
- Mentor | Starfish Initiative
- Event Volunteer | Central Indiana Science Outreach