Hi, my name is David Yang and I was a biochemistry major at UMass Amherst and I graduated in the spring of 2014. When I was an undergrad at the university, I worked in the research lab of Dr. Maura Cannon for all four years of my tenure. In the lab, I learned many general and biochemistry lab techniques, all of which was indispensable to my learning. This experience also taught me what it meant to be a researcher and work with other scientific minds in order to achieve a common goal. Additionally, and perhaps most importantly, this lab experience gave me a chance to get to know a faculty member and post docs on a personal basis, which was useful for career advice, as well as recommendation letters.
In the fall/winter 2013, I applied to graduate programs in pursuit of my PhD degree. I was interviewed and accepted into several programs, and eventually committed to the Cancer Biology PhD program at the University of Wisconsin Madison. However, in the spring of 2014, I was alerted by several advisors that there was a Technical Assistant position opening in the lab of Dr. Robert Langer of Chemical Engineering at MIT. I applied to the position, knowing that I had a solid fallback option in attending the University of Wisconsin that fall. After several interviews however, I managed to be accepted for the position. The opportunity to work at such a prestigious university and under such an influential man in the Chemical and Bioengineering field was too good to pass up. Additionally, this opportunity gave me a chance to take a year off between undergrad and graduate school which, at the end of my senior year, I realized was more than necessary. It also gave me a chance to see whether I could really commit to doing hard scientific research for a career before essentially signing a five-year plus contract for graduate school.
All in all, my career at UMass Amherst was an incredible experience. Due in large part to the Biochemistry Department, I am now working on projects that I am very interested in at MIT, and I go into work every day very excited. I get to experiment/play with things ranging from different polymers, to vaccines, to 3D modeling and printing. This department and others are here to help you while you are at school and assist you with your career goals, so take advantage!