Awards & Honors, Student Experience
Portrait of Dan Nguyen in a suit and tie.

Undergraduate MCD biology major Dan Nguyen is one of eight recipients of the 2021 Undergraduate Research in Science and Technology Award. For student achievement week, we asked him about his time at UC Santa Cruz, his research, and his advice for incoming students.

Please tell us about your experience at UC Santa Cruz.
It’s a good environment here and I genuinely enjoyed the friends I made, the peers I have worked with, and the faculty members that have graciously guided me.

What are your research interests and goals?
I originally went into UC Santa Cruz without much of a research goal, but after taking BIOE 20B with Professor Robin Dunkin, I remember being fascinated by the idea of stem cell biology and its connection with cancer. Through stem cell research, I hope to contribute to a more comprehensive understanding of diseases like cancer. It’s the passion for scientific research that makes me strive to understand the complex mechanisms of cancer progression, and search for solutions that tackle cancer cell proliferation.

Please share your accomplishments during your time here at UC Santa Cruz.
In January 2020, my friends and I launched an online journal club for undergraduates to gather around and discuss scientific research with their peers. Around once a month, we would gather in an online voice room and one of us would present a research article that we thought was interesting that month. In total, we had presentations that covered lots of fields in biology: neuroscience, plant biology, virology, and stem cell biology. It was a fun experience learning about all these different fields from my peers and having thoughtful discussions throughout the day.

What advice do you have for incoming UC Santa Cruz students?
Take things slowly and don’t rush things just because you see everyone else rushing things. Becoming the best version of yourself is a marathon, not a race. Slowly get involved in things (research, extracurriculars, 15+ unit schedules) over time and just be the best person you can be in the moment.

P.S.: Jack Baskin Room 312 is the best study spot on campus, no cap. It’s got double whiteboards, office chairs, a large desk space, and an outlet.

Congratulations to Dan and all of our 2021 award winners! For more student stories, check out the “Student Experience” category on the newscenter.