Student Profile: Julie Huang
Please describe your research area and interest.
My research focuses on Helicobacter pylori, a bacterium that infects the stomachs of over half of the world’s population. Infection with H. pylori can lead to the development of ulcers or stomach cancer. I am interested in understanding how H. pylori colonizes the stomach and cause disease. More specifically, I am investigating the strategies H. pylori employs to survive in the harsh acidic environment of the stomach.
What is your dream job/long-term career goals?
My dream job is to be a well-established professor where I have time to teach courses, mentor students, and remain at the forefront of my research in biomedicine. My job would allow me to collaborate with other researchers to solve the scientific mysteries of life.
Why did you decide to attend Stanford?
I chose Stanford because of the incredibly supportive environment and the numerous resources it offers for both professional and personal development (the weather and location is hard to beat too). I realized that not only was I going to get outstanding scientific training, I would also have the opportunity to develop my passions outside of the lab, including diversity initiatives and community outreach activities.
Who are your sources of support at Stanford?
My advisor, Manuel Amieva, has been a huge support not only in my training as a scientist, but also in my development as a leader and good societal citizen. My lab mates have also been incredible supporters. They’ve supported me during my lows and celebrated with me during my highs. I’ve been involved with numerous groups on campus, which have really helped me strike a good work-life balance. Some of these groups include Biomedical Association for the Interest of Minority Students (BioAIMS), Association for Women In Science (AWIS), Stanford Biosciences Student Association (SBSA), Office of the Vice Provost for Graduate Education (VPGE), and the Bioscience Office of Graduate Education.
How do you bring diversity to Stanford Biosciences?
I bring diversity to Stanford Biosciences as a female scientist. There seems to be equal representation of women in the Biosciences graduate student and post-doc populations, but when one looks at the gender ratio in the professoriate, it is predominantly male. I think my first-gen/low income background also contributes to diversity. I grew up in a predominantly Hispanic and Asian immigrant community, and the culture and values of this community are deeply ingrained in me. I think my experiences growing up in this community and my interactions with people from this background allow me to bring a different perspective to the predominantly educated, middle-class in academia.
What activities are you involved in outside of research?
I am very passionate about mentoring younger students who come from similar backgrounds as me (female students interested in science, first-gen and/or low-income students). I have mentored numerous students through programs on campus and off campus. Last year I created a first-gen mentoring program where Stanford first-gen grad students mentor first-gen undergrads. I’ve served as a panelist and guest speaker for several high school and community college groups where I’ve talked about my path to college and preparing for graduate school. This year, I am president of the BioAIMS and co-founded Grad FLIP (First Generation, Low Income Partnership), an organization that supports first-gen and/or low-income grad students at Stanford.
What do you like best about graduate school at Stanford?
I love the independence that grad school gives me to pursue the scientific questions that I am most interested in. It’s an amazing opportunity to be trained by world-class scientists. What I like best about Stanford is that the school has incredible support for students who are interested in pursuing non-academic careers. Also, because Stanford is located in Silicon Valley, there is a strong entrepreneurial spirit that encourages students to be innovative and collaborative. Stanford is a place that goes beyond teaching you the necessary skills to be successful in your field. It is a place that empowers you to take charge of your life and to grow into the person that you want to become.