Vinh Phuc, Vietnam
"At my [home] university, all of my research was paper-based, so I had never been in a lab before. That’s why this experience with the Amgen Scholars Program was a great opportunity for me."
How did you become interested in science?
As a child, I was more interested in watching science documentaries about wildlife and human disease than cartoons. I still remember that my favorite show was about the diseases most dangerous to mankind. I always had an interest in science, so I decided to major in it in college.
What’s the larger significance of your Amgen Scholars research? What’s your ultimate career goal?
I worked in Professor Tomohisa Kuzuyama’s lab to isolate bioactive compounds from living bacteria, especially Streptomyces. This basic research can have vital role in discovering new antibiotics. At my [home] university, all of my research was paper-based, so I had never been in a lab before. That’s why this experience with the Amgen Scholars Program was a great opportunity for me. I always wanted to become a professor, but the program has inspired me to think bigger. I would eventually like to return to Vietnam and start an international university that promotes science education.
Why did you apply to the Amgen Scholars Program?
I was researching master’s degree programs in Japan when I found the Amgen Scholars Program website. I thought it would help me to decide whether to pursue research. Now, after the summer, I am planning to apply for a master’s degree program at the University of Tokyo.
What aspects of the program did you enjoy the most?
The first was making a lot of friends from different countries but in similar fields in the life sciences. We had a good time experiencing Japan together, and I think we will remain friends for a long time. The second aspect was working in the lab. Everything for me was new, so I gained a lot. Despite the heavy workload — I worked on three different projects — I enjoyed being in the lab and communicating with my labmates.