Having grown interested in STEM in her teenage years, UW-Bothell biology senior Lyn Boyd has been amazed with the opportunities the field has provided her. In addition to the coursework that has fascinated her, Lyn has found a multitude of activities that fulfills her passion. This includes research, internships, and volunteer activities with WSOS! Read more about Lyn’s interests, her graduate school goals, and why she loves the scholarship program!
What inspired you to pursue your major?
Imagine growing up with eight other siblings. Now add homeschooling, atypical beliefs and being sheltered from community resources. Yes, I never got bored– but I also never got vaccinated. At fourteen I took an opportunity to manage livestock in trade for room and board, which gave me work ethic and real world biological experience (e.g. nutrition, veterinary). Having been analytically inclined from a young age I took my GED and followed a biological sciences pathway. My passion for biology came, like many others from the Pacific Northwest, from being in awe of my surroundings and always staying curious about how nature can be simultaneously vicious and beautiful.
Tell us about your current coursework.
I am taking Evolution, Ecology and Animal Behavior this quarter. These classes integrate extensively and show how science is fundamentally interdisciplinary. I could not study ecology without, for example, knowing that evolutionary history affects how organisms interact with each other and their environment.
What has been your favorite class and how does it pertain to your major?
I have so many “favorite” classes and most of them are in the Biology department. Brain and Behavior is likely on the top of my list because it included neuroscience, which I am a HUGE nerd about. Discussing the papers on how different brain regions are involved with human and animal behavior got me thinking about how little we really know about the brain and how phylogenetics might help solve the mystery of our behavior.
What excites you most about your future profession?
As a general biology major, choosing which career to follow can be intimidating. After 2 years of research I have decided to pursue Public Health. The most exciting thing to me about this field is that, to be successful in public health, it necessitates interdisciplinary collaboration which means I can use my analytical and creative abilities to promote awareness of the importance of preventative health, and improving access to meaningful health data–among a myriad of other goals.
Tell us about your research work this summer.
I have been an intern at the US Food and Drug Administration since Summer 2015. It has been an honor supporting the core mission of Health and Human Services to improve public health and I have gained invaluable experience and transferable skills–initially as an Administrative Support Intern and recently as a Biology Intern!
How did you land this opportunity?
I applied through USAJOBS thanks to advice from a good friend.
Has your internship influenced what coursework you will pursue in the future?
Yes. I plan to apply for the Masters in Public Health and this decision was influenced by my experience at the FDA.
What advice do you have for other students thinking about or seeking undergraduate research opportunities?
Apply to as many as possible to keep your options open. Be organized, confident and willing to learn.
What has surprised you most about your program and studies?
I have been surprised continuously, especially over the last year, about how much opportunity there is in science. Most of the shock comes from delving into scientific literature and realizing how much research can be continued and designed.
What extracurricular activities are you participating in that are helping you with your career goals?
Having an internship related to my future career has helped the most. WSOS has continuously provided me with opportunities to network and learn about careers and employers. I am in the Skills that Shine mentor-ship program offered by WSOS, which provides an excellent resource for me to connect with an industry expert in my field of study.
How has receiving WSOS supported you on your path to a thriving career in your field?
Being a WSOS Scholar is like being part of a big, nerdy family. The communication, programs and events that WSOS offers has ensured I have the opportunity to succeed and supported me by building skills like networking, leading and career-research. Being a scholar lead at OpportunityLaunch this summer and attending the OpportunityTalks breakfast are the most memorable examples I have of how WSOS has supported me toward a meaningful STEM career in public health.