Shining Bright: A PUC Student’s Journey to Excellence in Academics and Personal Development

By Ally Romanes on April 26, 2024

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There were a plethora of reasons why sophomore student Tiffany Do committed to Pacific Union College: the Christ-integrated education, serene campus filled with nature, closeness to home, and generous financial aid—to name a few.

However, the most significant motivator in this decision stemmed from her campus visit before attendance. Do glimpsed an invaluable interactive learning experience through meeting with the friendly faculty and students within the science departments. Now, as a biochemistry major in the pre-medicine program, the biology department and faculty have greatly contributed to her academic life.

"Studying at Pacific Union College has been a worthwhile investment toward my education and future," said Do. "The rigor of the classes contributes to my strong understanding of the sciences and the magnificent wonders of the human body. Additionally, the information-dense STEM lectures and long lab hours propels me to develop effective, efficient study methods necessary for medical school. Most importantly, the conversations with my professors centered on various scientific phenomenons—many of which unintentionally derive beyond what we are studying in the classroom—have been fascinating and greatly contributed to my academic enrichment."

Dean of the School of Sciences and Associate Biology Professor Aimee Wyrick-Brownworth met Do in the first few weeks of her freshman year in Biological Foundations. “I was impressed with her from the start,” shared Wyrick-Brownworth. “She combines academic and personal excellence, giving her all to whatever she does, and it shows! I appreciate that she participates and takes the lead when she is given the opportunity.”

With a 4.00 GPA, Do is currently leading and teaching a cohort of 440+ interns to conduct multiple bibliometric analyses on journals from the Web of Science database of various neuroscience topics. She is the Chief of Innovation Strategy, the Bibliometric Analysis Program Coordinator, and the project executive of ThinkNeuro.

Previously, Do was a clinical researcher who led a team of college undergraduates, including students from Cornell University and UC Berkeley, to conduct bibliometric analysis research with the Web of Science database. She is also the first author of the resulting e-poster and abstract on the impacts of artificial intelligence in neuroscience.

Among her other accomplishments, Do is a winner of the Medical Hackathon, which is the development of patented products. She collaborated with a team of seven other participants to develop an Opioid-Withdrawal Device and Physician-Patient App. She led the effort to formulate a supplementary research paper explaining the components, mechanisms, and medical research behind the devices.

Since September 2023, she's been the professional associate intern at ThinkNuero and the general chemistry teacher's assistant while also being the head microbiology lab media technician since October 2022—and her roles don't end there.

Do is the senator of the chemistry department, head of the finance committee, and a general biology tutor. The many hats she wears do not stop her from volunteering as an intern for the Cardiology Young Scholars program, which she’s been involved with since May 2023.

Chemistry Department Chair Dr. Kent Davis calls Tiffany an extraordinary student. “I've never heard of a student finishing the entire quarter's homework in the first week of the quarter as she has done for organic chemistry,” shared Dr. Davis. “She's also been a very good GChem TA, most weeks prepping the chemicals and equipment as well as helping to run the lab. As a teacher prepping assignments for class, the question ‘Is there part of this assignment that is going to be at least a little challenging for Tiffany?’ inevitably goes through the mind.”

The most valuable thing Do learned was that the more she immersed herself in her studies, the more she realized there was still little she knew. While reflecting on her freshman year, Do found that much of her academic motivation came from the desire to finish memorizing what was required. Unfortunately, this initially meant that she spent absurdly long hours studying, which proved to be burdensome and tiring. 

However, after making this revelation, she began to view studying as an indulgence rather than an arduous chore. This mindset change did wonders. Since she was less worried about knowing everything and focused on understanding rather than memorizing, she connected concepts quickly and understood the material with more ease, resulting in a better work-social balance and a lifestyle that Do genuinely enjoys.

Entering college, Do called herself a “huge introvert” who did not know anyone and kept to herself. “What makes the health pre-professional programs unique are the people,” Do said, describing what she appreciated the most about PUC’s pre-professional program. “I was fortunate in that I met people who went out of their way to befriend me early on and pushed me to be more outgoing. Their remarkable drive in their pursuits and compassion towards others have been very influential, encouraging me to be a better version of myself every day.”