"Listening to my fellow Equitech Scholars motivated me to learn more," says UCLA graduate Hy Dao

by Abby Thompson
June 7, 2023

Hy Dao is an Equitech Scholar from the 2022 cohort. This summer, he is finishing his bachelors degree in biochemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and found out about the Scholars program through an online search last year. He immediately loved the diversity of the Scholars cohort and the faculty and the opportunity to listen to people from all over the world. His fellow Scholars' stories and struggles inspired him.

When reflecting on his time in the Scholars program, Hy says, “I really enjoyed Bhasi’s class because it was the hardest one for me with lots of probability and statistics. I’d never been exposed to these things before or realized how useful it is. I loved meeting a lot of people and knowing problems they are trying to solve and their motivations behind it. For instance, my colleague Hager Adil is working to solve the energy crisis in her home country of Sudan. I really admire her, and her story motivated me.”

Before coming to UCLA, Hy transferred from a community college where he was involved in a STEM club focused on engineering, coding, and robotics. He served as president of the club during his final year and was recognized by the Student Leadership Office. Hy became a project lead, creating a physical soccer bot, in a contest where several teams created robots for the soccer arena.

In his major area of study, Hy would like to research stem cells and cancer that arrives in the bones and soft tissues. Hy won a competitive research fellowship in the Undergraduate Research Fellow Program at UCLA, and he was granted a scholarship to help support his research. He also works at a lab on the UCLA campus, studying immune cell therapy.

“I learned a lot about problem solving from Equitech Futures, and it has universal applications. Specifically, the Speaking Lab and Writing Lab courses helped me hone my scientific writing and delivering presentations of my research.”

When asked about advice for the future generation, Hy says that time management is key.

“Last summer, I was taking one undergraduate summer class, doing the Equitech Scholars program, and trying to stay on top of my research, so it was hard to manage all the commitments. I really had to distribute time for each thing so I could complete all the assignments."

He also says, “When I first joined Equitech Futures, I had some idea of the problems I wanted to solve, but listening to my peers motivated me to learn more. You never know if maybe one of the stories they have might relate to the research you want to do. It is worth connecting to other students because you don’t know when your paths will cross again. When we share information and share our experiences and keep in contact with each other, we form a network to help each other out. Maybe we’ll work together in the future!”

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