Updated: Apr 17, 2021
Meet Nick Huynh! He saved approximately $14,000 in tuition expense, earning 64 credits, from enrolling in the PSEO program at Minnesota State University, Mankato -- starting his journey in 10th grade! He is currently a senior at Mankato East, aspiring to do research concerning epigenetics and genomics, along with ambitions in pursuing a Ph.D. to contribute to the future of biological science. By enrolling in the PSEO program he plans to graduate 2.5 years early with a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry (Spring 2023)! Read his story by scrolling through the posts. Here are some of her thoughts on her experience:
NICK: My name is Nick Huynh, and I am currently a high school senior from Mankato East attending Minnesota State University, Mankato. Late into my sophomore year of high school, I had earned the extraordinary opportunity to join this university’s Honors Program and begin pursuing my undergraduate degree. Since then, I have decided to stay at MNSU, Mankato for the remainder of my undergraduate years given my family’s legacy of producing top graduates from this university. Looking ahead, I will be graduating in Spring 2023 (2.5 years early) with a bachelor’s degree in Biochemistry. Attributable to my passion for teaching as well as my interest in biological research concerning epigenetics and genomics, it is my long-term goal to pursue a Ph.D. in hopes of continuing genetic research at a university and passing my knowledge on to others, whether that be my students and/or my colleagues. I have high hopes for what the future of biological science has in store, and it is my goal to contribute to the quickly developing science community by changing the lens by which people perceive the beautiful thing that is science.
As such, I decided to major in Biochemistry due to my interest in learning about how living things function and how certain factors may cause dysfunction. Having many unanswered questions drove my curiosity within this subject, specifically toward molecular genetics, which is a field with a plethora left to study. It fascinates me how organisms have established structure and a specified function all the way down to the molecular level. I found studying these living systems to be inspiring in that there are many applications for them, especially in the realm of genetics. Such applications can be observed in agriculture, pharmaceuticals, therapeutics, etc., in which we may use our understandings of the genome to manipulate certain variables to achieve desired outcomes. This of course imposes the situation of ethics as genetic technology is relatively contemporary. Nonetheless, as we continue to discern the capabilities of these technologies, we must impose regulation in conducting trials to prevent unethical practices; one of my goals as a scientist will be to champion ethical practices and to ensure the sustainability of these practices. Ultimately, having knowledge of genetics provides us with a powerful tool in "rewriting" the familiar and preparing for the unprecedented.
Being a student in the MNSU Honors Program while in high school has allowed me network with several faculty members already. I plan to work closely with the Department of Chemistry as well as the Department of Biological Sciences during my undergraduate years to begin precursors to my research interests. Particularly, I hope to discern the capacity at which the CRISPR-Cas9 protein complex operates as well as proposing techniques for efficient genome modification. The question of ethics has emerged with the ongoing development of CRISPR-Cas9 technology concurrent with a better understanding of genomics/proteomics. We have not yet uncovered the capacity at which this protein complex operates, however, we have proposed several methods as to how we can use this technology to mediate disease and disorders. In 10 years, we can expect precursors in regulation of CRISPR-Cas9. In 50 years, we may start to use these precursors to begin clinical trials, although, it is still unlikely that we will reach 100 percent efficacy, reiterating the issue of ethics.
Undoubtedly, my PSEO experiences challenged me to think big and dream bigger. I believe that this program is a worthwhile experience that any college-bound high school student should consider. As a high school student in college, you will have many avenues to network with faculty members and plan your future more holistically than you would in high school; university advisors have much more knowledge on post-undergraduate tracks, e.g., medical school, graduate school, etc. than high school counselors do. Most notably, you are experiencing college first-hand and for FREE, which is something that AP courses (and the like) cannot replicate! As a high school student, I had earned 64 college credits and saved $14,000 in tuition fees. It is not often that I see high school counselors advocating for PSEO, which is why I truly appreciate People for PSEO’s student-led mission in making PSEO known to students as well as reducing inequity in education. Once again, thank you all for your time in reading this post! Be sure to follow my journey on my way to the top!