Junior Nguyen, Class of 2018, remembered taking biology for the first time with former Cristo Rey science teacher Mrs. Eva Porter: “She sparked a curiosity in me and even though the content was challenging, I was driven by that curiosity and fell in love with science.”
Junior was able to further explore his interests when he was placed at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) for his Work-Study job. Over the course of two years, he received a range of experiences in healthcare through roles in human resources, information technology and a research lab.”The Work-Study Program not only allowed me to explore my career interests, but taught me how to communicate, build relationships and be confident in myself.”
At Haverford College, Junior took the skills he gained at Cristo Rey and built relationships with his advisor and professors. Those relationships were integral to his success through his difficult course of study in college. In the spring of 2022, he received a Bachelor’s of Science in Biology and was recommended by his professor to a job at his former place of Work-Study employment – CHOP.
In June 2022, Junior returned to CHOP full-time as a Research Technician II in Dr. Scott Canna's Immunology Laboratory where he is now performing research to determine causes and cures for immune diseases. “There’s been a steep learning curve, but I feel confident because I’ve persevered through the challenges before…and it’s important work.”
Junior’s goal is to gain experience that help him become a better scientist and publish papers before going to graduate school for his Ph.D. in Biology. Long-term, Junior would like to become a professor and share his love of biology with students the way that Mrs. Porter did with him: “I think STEM can be inaccessible for a lot of first-generation college students like me, and I hope to bring change and make it accessible to everyone.”