“I have a ton of different things I dabble in, but I’m no prodigy in any of them. I wasn’t ever satisfied sticking to one skill because the one thing that I’m truly passionate about isn’t music or science or art; it’s helping others and maybe someday making a difference,” said Huyen Nguyen, a chemistry major at the University of Texas at Tyler.
Encouraged by her family to pursue a career in medicine, Huyen became interested in pharmacy when she took a high school pharmaceutical technician class. “I enjoyed the class, and I got to see how my knowledge of pharmaceuticals could help others. My mom would ask me about my dad’s prescriptions for his heart and blood pressure, and I got so excited when I was able to help and explain why he was given one medication instead of another,” she said.
Now a sophomore in college, Huyen is on her way to becoming a pharmaceutical scientist. She is wrapping up the prerequisites she needs before she moves on to the Ben and Maytee Fisch College of Pharmacy in Tyler, Texas, next fall. Always gifted in science courses, Huyen said she enjoys her classes, but often finds it challenging to set aside time for studying. “The struggle I have is learning how to find that happy balance between school life, work life, and personal life. Sometimes when I try to make a schedule, especially to study, I often end up breaking it when something comes up,” she said.
One helpful tool she’s found is MasteringA&P, the online learning tool used in her Anatomy & Physiology coursetaught by Professor Suzanne Pundt. She said, “I like that it forces me to sit down and really pay attention. I get so busy that sometimes my assignments just become things to check off a list. With MasteringA&P, it really feels like a study session.
With MasteringA&P, I test myself, I get feedback, I improve on what I’m shaky on or learn what I don’t know. It has features that are geared towards really learning the material rather than just being assessed.
Huyen likes how MasteringA&P supplements what she learns in the classroom. She explained, “It offers an explanation for the homework answers, even if I get them right; gives me multiple tries; and has a wide range of study tools like visual aids such as diagrams and videos, module quizzes, and a practice anatomy lab so I can see real applications. I think that really knowing the material means being able to choose and explain the right answer, but also knowing why the other answers are incorrect. MasteringA&P reinforces this; it’s like having my own tutor.”
Professor Pundt has also been key to her success in the class. Huyen shared, “She never fails to respond to an email, which really means a lot. She always encourages questions and office visits and seems to have endless patience when I ask questions.”
While balancing all the important things in her life is a challenge, Huyen stays motivated by focusing on her future. “I would love to be a pharmaceutical scientist and work to develop new drugs or improve existing ones,” she said. “I have a dream of making a difference and of taking care of others.”
She’s also motivated by the prospect of being able to help out her family once she graduates. She said, “I am Vietnamese and the youngest of four. I grew up in a small house with a lot of people, not too much money, and parents who taught me the value of education and hard work. I dream of being able to help them out so they can sit back and relax.”