Albert Yang

Tell us about why you chose to major in Microbiology.

There were several reasons I chose to major in the sciences. Initially, coming to college, my parents pushed me towards business. My whole family works in the business world, so that’s what they wanted. But I’ve always wanted to do something with science. My grandfather, who I was close to, died of cirrhosis of the liver, an incurable disease, and he died quite suddenly. His death gave me a passion to find a cure.

Biology specifically was a pretty natural choice – I had a great Biology teacher in high school and have always liked it. All of this combined meant that when I came in, I knew that I wanted to study biology, in general, and more specifically, microbiology. I wanted to do something with immunology, infectious diseases, something like that.

What are some unique aspects of being a Microbiology major?

First, the courses. We have a lot of lab courses, and in those labs, they treat you like a master’s student, not as an undergrad. The professors want you to understand what’s happening, and they want to train you on a more advanced level. They’re always looking ahead and focused on what you learn, not just the score you receive at the end.

Second, every undergraduate student in a research lab gets a mentor. My mentor is Blake, a Ph.D. student. At the beginning of this experience, I knew absolutely nothing. But my mentor helped a lot. He explained things to me and began to teach me what it means to work in a lab.

The department is very supportive of the students, and they give lots of information about career options. Of course, you still have to put in the work yourself and be active. There’s a Biology club that does things, like they had a research symposium that focused on lab opportunities for undergraduate students. That helped me get my research position.

The opportunities I have had, like researching in a lab, gives me an upper hand when applying for graduate school and looking for research opportunities in the future.

Albert Yang

How has the College of Arts and Sciences prepared you for your future?

Here, I have so many resources and learning opportunities. The courses are good and the faculty are interested in you learning. They train you to be an expert in your future field. The opportunities I have had, like researching in a lab, gives me an upper hand when applying for graduate school and looking for research opportunities in the future.

Why should other international students consider coming to Indiana?

Why should they study in the U.S.? For me, it’s been amazing. There’s so much diversity, both for academic research and in the kinds of people that are here. There is so much diversity on campus; I have friends from other races and backgrounds. Most of my friends are American, and this is another space to explore. There are so many Chinese students on the coasts—living in the Midwest is a totally different experience.

As for Bloomington, it’s a great small town. Coming from China, it’s a completely different experience. It’s the most beautiful campus, and it’s always good weather, which is nice coming from Taiwan where it rains all the time. Bloomington is a “college town,” and it’s a perfect place with really nice people.

Is it possible to sum up your experience here in one sentence?

To sum up: The whole experience has been magnificent. It’s just been too short. The whole experience has been magnificent.

I would want future students to know that being in the U.S. is not what it is on the news. You also have to look beyond the rankings – it’s the experiences that you have here and what you gain from them that is important for your future career.

Learn more about the international student experience