'I look forward to unraveling the mysteries behind virus infections'

Yao Yu Yeo

Biological Sciences

What is your main extracurricular activity and why is it important to you?

I spend most of my time outside classes doing research in lab. It is very important for me because research is the place that has been able to consistently challenge me and broaden my academic interests. Apart from that, playing the piano has done wonders for my mental wellbeing.

What Cornell memory do you treasure the most?

I wouldn't say that I have a specific memory in mind, but watching myself grow and mature academically and as a human being over the previous years while on foreign soil is what I treasure and cherish the most. It has been a wonderful journey.

Who or what influenced your Cornell education the most? How or why?

My mentors are the ones who influenced my Cornell education the most. Special shoutout to Hector Aguilar-Carreno and Bruce Ganem. I am forever grateful for their dedication and unwavering support in all of my academic endeavors. Without them, I would only be a shell of myself today. It is simply awesome to have known mentors who only want to see us succeed and help us attain our dreams.

If you were to offer advice to an incoming first year student, what would you say?

Now is the time for us to chase our dreams. Dream big and work hard —  the fruits of our labor will appear! Even if things don't turn out the way we hoped, we can smile and know that "this is not for me" instead of looking back with tinges of "if only I..." regrets.

What are your plans for next year? 

I will be pursuing a Ph.D. in virology at Harvard Medical School next semester. I look forward to unraveling the mysteries behind virus infections and developing vaccine and antiviral strategies. Most importantly, I wish to grow as an independent scientist. 

Every year, our faculty nominate graduating Arts & Sciences students to be featured as part of our Extraordinary Journeys series. Read more about the Class of 2021.

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Yao Yu Yeo