Andrea Chin ‘15 hasn't been one to stray from her goals and the path that leads her to them. While at Whitman, Chin was a biochemistry, biophysics and molecular biology (BBMB) major. She had her sight set on Whitman from the moment she was accepted to the college's Visit Scholarship Program, which provides a free trip to campus for students from underrepresented backgrounds. She envisioned herself as a future Whittie as she sat in on a class her senior year of high school.
Today Chin is a research assistant at Oregon Health and Sciences University (OHSU), a position where she often uses the laboratory skills she learned study BBMB at Whitman.
"Most of the techniques I use in my day to day are ones that I either have previously done in a lab at Whitman, or at least heard about the concept in a classroom setting," Chin said. "I've been interested in biomedical research since high school. Growing up in Portland, it was hard to ignore that OHSU was a major medical research university, working there was always my dream job."
Chin started out in a neurology lab and now works in the molecular microbiology and immunology department.
Eventually, Chin would like to go to graduate school and work toward an advanced science degree. She recommends students interested in lab work find a position as a research assistant before enrolling in graduate school to ensure it's what you really want to do. For Chin, going directly into research as an assistant allowed her to explore many different positions and areas of study, possibly bringing her closer to a decision on graduate school.
"I am still at that considering grad school stage, and advice I've been given from current grad students is that you should really be sure that getting a Ph.D. is necessary for what you want to do in the future," she said.
Graduate school is a big commitment, she said, so knowing that what you are studying is your passion is crucial.
"A benefit of being at a research institute like OHSU is the accessibility of seminars given by visiting professors, graduate students and post docs on a variety of fields. I was also able to audit a graduate student course," she said. "These opportunities are all helpful to keep me in the academic mindset."