Alumni Updates

Alumni Updates

Below are some updates on some of our Chemistry alumni.  If you would like to be included, please email Dr. Rebecca Kalman at

Thien Vu (2018) taking some free time to enjoy life.

Thien Vu – Biochemistry, Spring 2018

How what I learned at GGC helped me in pharmacy school

I graduated summa cum laude from GGC in the Spring of 2018 with a Biochemistry major, I am continuing my science journey in a pharmacy program at Mercer University, College of Pharmacy. The biggest difference between studying at GGC and the pharmacy school is the number of lectures and assignments. One semester in a pharmacy school often includes 18 credits. Exams happen frequently every Monday and assignments are due almost everyday. The amount of works is similar to what you may deal with if taking 2-3 full summer semesters at GGC in a row.

Luckily, during my four years as an undergraduate at GGC, I was equipped with essential skills to manage time more effectively and make my current life easier. One skill I gained at GGC was to become familiar with a model of flipped classroom, in which students prepare to study the lecture in advance at home. Professors come to class with a condensed presentation of important points and focus on activities. I  also learned that taking notes in class is also a very important skill, especially when time for studying and reviewing lectures is extremely limited. Since more than 10% of questions on the exams are from in-class lectures, taking good notes might increase you one letter grade from a B to an A. Last but not least, I obtained some solid fundamental knowledge from my favorite GGC professors in my science classes, including in Chem 1212, Chem 2212, Chem 3000, Biol 2252, Biol 3200, and Biol 3400.  This fundamental knowledge probably gave me some advantages in absorbing new information faster and more efficiently in the pharmacy school, especially the mechanism of actions based on drug structures on human physiology and pathophysiology.

I believe GGC students are very competitive and can be successful in any graduate school or healthcare school after graduation.  We have obtained the necessary skills, preparation, knowledge from the GGC curriculum, and advice from GGC professors.


Drasti Patel enjoying Boston and life after GGC.

Drasti Patel – Biochemistry, Summer 2017

From GGC to Graduate School – Comparing my Thoughts and Experiences

As an undergrad at GGC, I wouldn’t have imagined ending up where I am now. I’ve always been a person conflicted about what she wants to do in her life. My interests are wide and varied in biology, chemistry, and technology, but I’m unsure how to combine all of those together or choose one or the other. Luckily, I have been able to get experience in each of these areas with some overlap at GGC and afterwards. I was able to explore my interest in neuroscience as a coop student in a neurobiology lab at Harvard Medical and am currently finishing my master’s in bioinformatics at Northeastern University. There are many new things I’ve learned which I both like and don’t like. I’ve learned about a field called connectomics at the lab and developed my programming skills through classes in the bioinformatics program. Connectomics seeks to map and understand the connections in an organism’s nervous system. Mostly, my role in the lab was to generate training data for the neural network to learn to automatically reconstruct neurons from electron microscope images. The data set I worked on was of the mouse cerebellum. It’s amazing how much technology can aid and accelerate scientific research. Through my experiences so far, I’ve learned what I do like and what I don’t and have been able to shape my goals more clearly and finely.

The closer I get to finishing another chapter of my life, I compare it to how I felt as I was finishing up at GGC. Did I put in my best efforts? Did I find myself to be wiser? Am I better prepared to deal with life after school? I still don’t have definite answers to these questions but I’m sure I’ll figure it out. What I’d like to say to new and current students is that I hope they’ll always try to put in as much of their best efforts in something they’re interested in as they can. Although I lack confidence and feel lost quite often, with a vague idea of what I want, I just keep trying to make my own opportunities and exploring as many of my interests as I can. Whatever curve balls life throws, we just have to keep going forward.

I would like to say thanks to the professors that made a big difference in my life. I really appreciated them listening to me, encouraging me, and guiding me even after I had graduated. I especially feel grateful towards Drs. Huang, Zimmermann, and Anfuso. Thank you!