Student Spotlight - Blog Entry December 2019

Author name
Tommy Lin

Tommy Lin is from Shanghai, China and is pursuing majors in Chemistry and Computer Science .   

As an undergraduate at Duke, I’m very lucky to enjoy all the resources that Duke offers to help us thrive, both in and out of the classroom. Besides the myriad of student resources (like UCAE, CAPS, Student Health), clubs and intriguing activities, what has shaped me most is the awesome people and the meaningful connections I have made at Duke. The faculties at Duke not only teach undergraduate courses with passion and expertise, but also provide opportunities for us to get involved in their research. As a junior, I have taken 4 semesters of research classes. I finished a Bass Connections research project that investigates the coal ash contamination in Belmont, North Carolina. I’m also in my second semester of computational chemistry research that looks into the energy of a catalyst that could amplify MRI signals by more than 10,000 folds. From these research experiences, I am starting to figure out what I want to study in the future. 

Duke also provides an amazing network of advisors that help undergrads navigate the academic possibilities. Before declaring a major, we are assigned a college advisor. I had an awesome experience with my college advisor, Dr. Rochelle Newton, who helped me analyze and explore my academic interests. It was partially with her encouragement that I started to have a clearer view of what I want to do with my life. Upon declaration, we have major advisors in the department who give us more detailed and targeted advice. There are also Directors of Academic Engagement (DAEs) and advisors at the Career Center, whose advice has assisted me in figuring out summer plans, internships, and planning upon graduation. 

At Duke, I am among a group of awesome students who work as the Peer Advisors. We provide a student perspective to the network of advisors. We mostly assist first-year students and sophomores to get through the choice in academics before they find a major. We help students identify interesting classes to enroll in, structure a balanced schedule, find interesting clubs, declare a major, etc. I particularly enjoy guiding my advisees to find research opportunities because I can share my personal experience. It is very gratifying to see a lot of my advisees start to have a solid idea about their interests, potential major, and career plan.