Alumni Spotlight

    Meet our Alumni...Uyen Chu and Cassy Thime

    Uyen Chu

    Tell us about yourself including your professional background.

    My name is Uyen Chu and I am a 2001 GMS Scholar. I recently transitioned from academia into the U.S. Army as a Biochemist. I am currently stationed at Tripler Army Medical Center in Honolulu, HI.

    How have you transitioned into working in a meaningful career?

    I obtained a Bachelor Degree in Biochemistry in 2005 from the University of Nebraska – Lincoln and immediately went on to pursue a PhD in Pharmacology at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. I then stayed at the UW-Madison to complete four years of postdoctoral training before getting commissioned as a Captain in the U.S. Army. I am currently the Officer in Charge of the Point-of-Care Testing Program at Tripler. My current assignment puts me in a very unique position to apply my basic scientific training to the clinical setting in order to serve the men and women who wear our uniforms. I feel incredibly lucky in my role because my work is extremely rewarding on a personal and professional level. I would encourage any GMS scholar who is interested in a career in the military as a scientist to please reach out to me – I would love to share my experiences.


    How has GMS impacted your life?

    There is no doubt in my mind that GMS has had a big impact on my life. Not only has the Gates Foundation provided funding for my undergraduate and graduate education, but GMS also funded the many leadership conferences I have had the privilege to attend throughout my academic career. Finally, being a GMS scholar has given me the confidence to pursue my dreams in ways that I would not have been able to do without the support.

    What are you most excited for in 2016

    Aside from starting a completely new career in the Army, I am also excited to meet new friends and discover life on the islands of Hawaii.

    Is there anything else you would like to share or want the GMS Scholars/Alumni community to know?

    One piece of advice I’d like to share with the young GMS Scholars is to always share your own story. I have always been a reserved person, but I learned through the years in academia that sharing my background and experiences is one way to (1) connect with like-minded people and (2) to help alleviate some of the stereotypes about minority/disadvantaged groups. I believe that the contemporary problems relating to race and diversity (or lack thereof) can be slowly chipped away if we all share our own personal stories of struggles. As an educated community, we should be compelled to speak out not only for ourselves but we also have the responsibility to speak for the people who share similar backgrounds but do not have a voice. One way I have been able to do this at UW-Madison was getting involved in a committee that examined the Achievement Gap in STEM Education between minority/disadvantaged students and the general population in order to find solutions to close this achievement gap. As an Army officer, I continually look for avenues to share my story and experiences with my colleagues. I would encourage GMS scholars to be engaged and to find ways to authentically “show” yourself more, either at your academic institution, or if you are working, at your professional organization. To me, it is such Zan important cause especially in today’s political climate.


    Cassy Thime

    My name is Cassy Thime. I am a first generation high school graduation. I received my bachelor’s degree from City College of NY @ CUNY in 2011 and received my Masters in Biology from University of Saint Joseph in 2014. In June 2016, I started working for the Department of Education Office of Adult & Continuing Education as a community liaison. My job requires me to connect to adults that do not hold a US high school diploma or its equivalency. I have a motivational role that equates to speaking about the additional benefits of going back to school, no matter a person’s age. Because of this new exposure to the education field, I am very excited to start my Educational Doctorate in September 2016 at Long Island University. Without GSM, I would not be the first in my family to earn my bachelors. I am also the only one to have a Masters. Because of GSM, I am able to pursue my doctorate. I hope to be an education administrator and able to implement policy changes at the highest level. As a mother of 2 2-years-old, Kaci & Kalli, I enjoy my summers by taking them to the park and trying out new ice cream flavors.





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