Bio Major Exercises Creative Muscles
Kathy Wang is a human biology majorwho has found a way to balance the yearnings of her artistic side with an intense academic schedule centered on medicalscience. Although her courses and workload are propelling her toward graduating about a year early, she has already made a big impression on the campus community.
She has also been a prolific artist, contributing her skills as a graphic designer and editor for the Prodigy, UC Merced's student newspaper, and the Undergraduate Research Journal.
What began as a nice distraction from an intense academic load in high school has become an important creative outlet for this college sophomore.
"I started doing fliers because they're usually boring," she said. "If they're boring, people won't look at them, and they miss the information because they're not looking. I like designing fliers people enjoy looking at."
At UC Merced, she started by submitting comics to Prodigy and was motivated by the feedback she received.
"People would read them and laugh, and they'd come up to me and tell me it made them smile or laugh, and that made me feel good."
Over the past two years, Wang has added copy editing to her list of duties on the paper, and she began working on the Undergraduate Research Journal about a year ago.
For the journal's Spring 2008 anthology, Wang designed the covers, edited the content and handled all layout. She has also contributed her talents to the Writing Programand the Center for Research on Teaching Excellence.
"I feel like it's a waste if I'm not doing everything I could be doing," she said.
Working on the Undergraduate Research Journal has inspired her to submit her own work to the publication, although she had to resign from her position to have it considered.
"I wrote a paper for a science writing class about the chemicals in a person's brain that affect how generous or altruistic they are. I find it really interesting that something like that can be attributed to a chemical."
Wang's father is a doctor and she has a brother in medical school, so it's no surprise that her first love is human biology.
"I like science and learning how things work in the human body; I like the things that you learn in biology, like anatomy, especially because I like to know how things work in the body," she said. "But I have also always liked drawing, putting together colors, thinking about what other people would like to look at. For me it's a stress release."
Wang chose UC Merced over other universities because she wanted to be in a different kind of competitive environment, one small enough to allow her to make a difference. The last thing she wanted to be was just another number plowing through the same classes and having the same experiences as all the other highly-focused people around her.
Although she has yet to choose her exact career path, Wang is confident that it will be in the medical field, so she is embracing the chance to explore her inner graphic designer while she can.
"In college there are a lot more opportunities to do other things. It's part of student life."