Resonance of My Life:
I always thought I would be an artist. All the memories I had before 12 years old were of me running around, interacting and drawing with the art editors in my mom’s company. My enthusiasm in drawing, however, faded when I was rejected by the art program at middle school. Depressed and unmotivated, I became an ordinary student concerned about homework for today, tests for tomorrow, and nothing for the future. At 10th grade I was fortunate enough to encounter my chemistry teacher. I loved very much the way she taught. She brought atoms to life atoms and shared stories of why they could or couldn’t hold hands as a means to explain covalent bonds, why, in some cases, they needed to hold two hands producing a double bond or added their feet to create a triple bond, and how these atoms finally overcame energy barriers to become a molecule! Encouraged by her and her fascinating stories, I majored in Molecular Science and Engineering at university. While learning practical experiments, I witnessed those stories she discussed in class become reality especially when my experiments were a success. I was so excited because I knew at that time those stories my teacher had taught were not just fairy tales! When an experiment failed, I understood that the conditions for the particular experiment were unsuitable as I reasoned that I could not expect the “atom/chemical” performers to act well in the wrong scene or “condition”. I started to enjoy directing experiments in college and eventually fell in love with science. The proof-of-principle experiences in labs made me realize that the chemical scenes I was directing in my imaginations can be transformed into a chemical reality. Now as a graduate student in Materials Chemistry, I am working in a protein engineering lab to explore the fascinating stories behind the fabrication and characterization of biomaterials. Just like a delocalized electron travels around molecular orbitals in resonance theory (which was proposed by my scientific idol Linus Pauling), I also hovered around different careers— an artist, a hip hop dancer, a drummer… They ended up as history but they are forever parts of my character, plots in my life manifesting as conjugations and I am and always will be stabilized as a scientist. ‘Every scientist has a story…’ I found my own mechanism. I am science.