Clemson biochemistry student receives NIH scholarship award and research opportunity
CLEMSON — Diana Nguyen, Clemson University senior biochemistry major from Greenville, received a $20,000 scholarship and a one-year paid post-graduate research position from the National Institutes of Health Undergraduate Scholarship Program.
The NIH, a government run institute for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, selects 16 students nationwide for the undergraduate scholarship program.
Nguyen is in her second year as a research assistant for Cheryl Ingram-Smith, an assistant professor of genetics and biochemistry in the College of Science. Ingram-Smith is studying a eukaryotic pathogen, a causative agent of amoebic dysentery that has about 50 million cases worldwide.
“Diana is a highly motivated student with unlimited potential. She is one of the best students I have had and is incredibly smart. She is able to handle everything we throw at her and is always interested in doing more,” said Ingram-Smith.
Nguyen became interested in science at a young age. She saw science as a way to solve problems and has continued to view it that way. She has since had many notable internship opportunities, including one this past summer at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology in Japan, where she was selected from a large pool of international applicants. Her three-month research internship centered on neurodegeneration in nematodes found in the soil.
“It was a great opportunity for me to gain valuable research experience. I also feel fortunate to have met people from all over and see the beautiful country of Japan,” said Nguyen.
“My main project right now is trying to localize different proteins on the pathogen. This will allow us to understand how this pathogen breaks down glycogen and what happens when it can’t make it or use it,” said Nguyen.
Nguyen is also involved outside of the lab. She is a layout editor for the literary arts magazine “The Chronicle,” works as an IT support assistant for Clemson, and volunteers at the Bob Campbell Geology Museum. Her future goals include attending further school to earn her medical degree or a dual-degree program to also earn her Master of Public Health degree.