Tim Quah, a 2019 graduating student, has received a NSF Graduate Research Fellowship for his approaching time at UC-Santa Barbara. Quah worked both as both a high school and graduate researcher in Dr. Shelley Minteer's lab for the last four years while getting a BS in Chemical Engineering. He has been a co-author on four publications in the Minteer lab.
Tim’s research with Dr. Minteer focused on immobilizing enzymes for a host of applications. As an ambitious student, he did an REU with the chemistry department when he was a freshman and worked in a UC Berkeley lab as well. In each place, Tim was rubbing shoulders with NSF graduate fellows and was reading their essays which gave him a framework of what he needed to do to achieve similar awards.
After graduating last week, Tim is spending his summer reading to prepare for his time at UC-Santa Barbara. His motivation to strive constantly is watching 4th and 5th year graduate students as well as post-docs and seeing their depth of knowledge and their detailed skill sets. “You have to start early to get that knowledge base,” he says.
"Dr. Minteer is a great mentor.” Tim came to Dr. Minteer as a senior in high school with a project proposal, and she encouraged Tim to use her lab. He admits he was a messy high school student and could have been “cleaner” in the lab. His experience in Dr. Minteer’s lab inspired him to come to the University of Utah where he knew he would get exceptional experience. Dr. Minteer went above and beyond and spent time with Tim to advise him on almost every decision he’s had to make along the way to graduate school.
“Having such a good lab to join gives you a different perspective as an undergrad. One thing I’ve really appreciated is how responsive Dr. Minteer has been as I’ve asked for recommendations or I send her a publication, it gets done in no time. That type of experience has been really great in the sense that not only do you learn what a good research group is, but also, in the back of my mind, I want to become a mentor, like Dr. Minteer, that is committed to supporting hard-working students.”