Friday, February 1, 2013

Precious Gems

Though the Gemstone Program is filled with some of UMD's most extraordinary students, we like to identify those that we believe really shine.  These are some of those students, and that is why they are ... Precious Gems!

            Anna Pham is a senior Cell Biology & Molecular Genetics major on Team Gene Therapy researching low-density lipoprotein receptors in rabbits. After graduation, Anna will be attending Maryland Medical School in Baltimore and hopes to specialize in dermatology or urology/gynecology.  Anna is also an Asian-American studies minor, which has made her become interested in women’s health and stigmas about sexuality with Asian-American women.  For two summers, Anna interned at the National Institute of Health.  One summer she worked in a neurobiology lab, and the other she worked on collagen disorders using infrared spectroscopy.  Her work with collagen disorders led her to be published in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.  Additionally, Anna has worked in an on-campus lab researching West Nile Virus for three years.
            On top of all her academic accomplishments, Anna’s love for both leadership and starting new things has led her to be actively involved in community service and outreach.  In the University of Maryland community, Anna is the Founding President of the Honors Student Programming Council (Honors SPC). In this role, Anna helped establish new traditions such as Honors Olympics and Spring Grill and Chill. Her work and dedication to Honors SPC has allowed them to plan fun events to bring Honors students together and prove themselves as a staple of the Maryland Honors Community.  In 2009, Anna founded the non-profit organization Eyes Closed, Hearts Open, Inc (E.C.H.O.).  The organization has two goals: 1) make art and original productions and 2) use art as community service.  Recently, E.C.H.O. brought an a cappella group to a nursing home and held art workshops for children to encourage the community to participate in the arts as a means of self-expression.
            After all of her academic and community service activities, Anna still finds some time to enjoy napping, McDonald’s, and event planning. Her favorite guilty pleasures are watching BravoTV, the E! Network, as well as Timeflies on Youtube.  Finally, you may be able to spot her breaking it down at Cornerstone on the weekend. Anna Pham is a natural born leader who uses her academic and organizational talents to better the world in any way she can.  She is the penultimate example of the caliber of students that Gemstone students are and strive to be.
-Maureen Bowers: Team ONLINE: Class of 2013
Matthew Carr:

          When deciding which Honors program to choose at the University of Maryland, one of the most common concerns that students have about choosing Gemstone is the workload involved. However, junior Neurobiology and Psychology double major Matthew Carr is a prime example of a student who knows how to balance social life and academics, as well as being on a Gemstone team. As president of Lambda Chi Alpha, a social fraternity at the University of Maryland, Matt has certainly succeeded in being a leader in Greek life as well as being in the Gemstone program.
           Serving as president of a large social organization isn’t as easy as it seems. Besides running chapter and executive committee meetings, Matt is responsible for taking care of unexpected duties or resolving any issues that may occur in addition to attending social events and having fun. So the question is, how do you balance your time between having a social life, being involved in Gemstone, AND tackling a full course load? As a student at Maryland, you’ll learn to discover what activities you’re really passionate about. “Greek life is one of those activities where you get out what you put in. If you don’t have the time to dedicate to it, you don’t really have to. This definitely helps with prioritizing.” In addition to being involved in Greek life and Gemstone, Matt also serves as a research assistant at the Center for Addictions, Personality, and Emotion Research as well as a member of the Greek honor society, Order of Omega.
        After graduation, Matt hopes to attend medical school. However, his Gemstone team, team POLITIC, is comparing how the reception of Russian literature in the US correlates with US foreign policy towards Russia from 1890s to 1920s. This specific project most interested Matt because of the fact that it is completely different from his majors. “College is probably the last time I’ll be able to research something just because I find the subject intriguing. Gemstone students shouldn’t be afraid of branching away from their majors in their projects.” Even within the Gemstone program, you can be involved with interests that are outside of your major.
        Regardless of what you’re involved with on campus, there is definitely a way to incorporate all of your extracurricular activities with your academics. “It’s definitely not too much to be in Gemstone and be involved as a leader on campus. Gaining leadership is a great experience, and definitely makes your four years of college more enjoyable.”
-Jessica Lee: Team RITALIN: Class of 2014

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