Jennifer Tsau 
(I go by Jenn) 

Major:  Biology B.S.


I am from St. Louis, Missouri, but currently live in the Chicago, Illinois area. I am currently a Biology major at Northwestern, with a possible double major in Environmental Sciences, and a minor in English.

    I’ve always been interested in the natural sciences, and my interest in biology in particular has stemmed from my love of the outdoors and curiosity about living things. I think that the next few decades will be the golden years of biology (with chemistry and physics having already had their breakthrough years) and I want to be involved. I also like biology because I think it’s important to think about where we came from, where we are presently and where we are going, from a scientific perspective.

      In the future, I see myself doing research, probably at a university. I might work for industry but this doesn’t appeal to me as much – I’d rather interact with people. Ideally, I would focus on projects that would allow me to juggle time between the field and the lab, as Dr. Mayden does (at least this is my understanding). I will probably eventually focus in genetics, evolutionary biology, molecular or cell biology. This is such a long list because I’m still curious to investigate all of these areas more in-depth.

From this REU experience I mostly hope to gain valuable lab experience – I want to start learning about lab work and the more complex concepts that accompany it in order to be more knowledgeable about biology in general. I also see this summer as a way for me to broaden my horizons – to meet students like myself, to learn from experienced professors and other lab members, and to improve my lab techniques. I hope to take from this summer an increased understanding of and interest in biology. I also hope to leave with a clearer picture of what area I want to eventually specialize in.

      At school, I play sax in the marching band, which is time consuming but a nice way to distract myself from school and be outdoors. I also enjoy taking walks along the beach (of Lake Michigan), reading and writing, and playing piano. This summer, I plan to go spelunking, read Pale Fire by Nabakov and Dinosaur in a Haystack by Gould, and teach myself a Beethoven sonata (one of the easy ones). 

            I am very excited to be working in Dr. Mayden’s lab and also very grateful that I was given this opportunity. I intend on being as constructive and helpful as I can and learn from my fellow students. I also plan on making this summer as enjoyable and productive as possible for myself and everyone else.