Liz Wyman is a biology doctoral student from Manchester, NH
Hometown: Manchester, NH
Major: Biology graduate student
What did you want to be when you were growing up? Are you pursuing that as a major, or have you taken another path?
Growing up, I distinctly remember wanting to be a veterinarian, mostly to work with animals all day. While my interests changed as I grew up, I still loved science. Today I'm pursuing my Ph.D. in biology.
What is your major (and/or minor) and why did you decide on this course of study?
I'm getting my Ph.D. in biology, and I study fungal genetics, more specifically. I chose to get my Ph.D. because I would love to be a professor one day. However, being in academia has also opened my eyes to opportunities for scientists in industry and government roles.
What has been something you have found pleasantly surprising about your experience at NIU?
The community I have created is the best part of NIU. I am so happy to call many of my colleagues friends!
How have you connected with other students to study for classes, meet new people or form new friendships?
As a grad student, it can be really difficult to make friends. I have done so through my department, mainly through the Biology Graduate Student Association (BGSA) and volunteering. I volunteer both on and off campus with the communiversity gardens and the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.
Are you involved in any student organizations, mentoring programs or extra-curricular activities? If so, which ones? How have they added to your experience as a Huskie?
Currently, as a research assistant for the BELONG in STEM scholarship program, I am a near-peer mentor for students on campus. This experience has afforded me the opportunity to provide support and guidance to students outside of the classroom environment.
What NIU offices, departments or resources have helped you succeed? And how?
I think the Biology Graduate Student Association has been the most helpful in making me feel included and successful. This organization not only provides social activities for grad students, but also gives us a voice on campus.
Where is your favorite spot on campus or in the community? Why are you drawn to it?
My favorite spot on campus is by the lagoon. I love water; I find it super-peaceful and calming. So, the lagoon is the place I go when I need a break from research. I like to take an afternoon walk around the lagoon to clear my head.
What advice would you give to a student who is applying to colleges?
The best advice I have for someone applying to college would be to not be afraid to change your mind. I picked a major and stuck to it all four years, and now I'm in grad school doing the same thing. I didn't give myself a chance to explore other opportunities.
Coming to college, what is something that you have had to learn to do differently?
It’s been so long since I started college, my entire life is different from what it was five years ago!
What do you do to relax or recharge?
To relax, I love going for a walk or doing some painting. I take self-care very seriously, so I build it into my everyday routine. Sometimes relaxing is as simple as getting my hands dirty in the garden. I also recently found a group that does volleyball weekly, and I play with them.