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Tuesday, April 16, 2024

Emily Tran discusses choosing her major, favorite college memories, career trajectory

This spring, seniors reflect on their time at UC Davis and share their plans for post-grad 


By JALAN TEHRANIFAR — features@theaggie.org


This is the third story in The California Aggie’s five part series profiling seniors graduating from UC Davis this spring. Throughout the quarter, The Aggie will be speaking with seniors about their UC Davis experiences, favorite memories and plans for after graduation.


Emily Tran, a fourth-year biological sciences major from Alameda, CA, will be saying goodbye to UC Davis at the end of the quarter — but she said that the university will always be a part of her. 

Although Tran’s deep-rooted interest in science is what led her to choose biology as a major, she said that her mother’s career played a role in her choice of minor: education.

“I chose education as a minor partially because my mom is a teacher,” Tran said. “I wanted to learn more about what she does and also I had to take a few education classes to become a peer tutor. I had already taken half the courses required for a minor so I thought I might as well take the rest and the classes were super interesting.”

Tran said that she ultimately chose UC Davis after visiting the campus because of the college town environment.

“I actually toured twice before I decided to come here,” Tran said. “I really liked the environment here. Davis is close to home too, so that was a plus.” 

During her undergraduate experience, Tran joined clubs and interest groups that mostly involved working with children, including Princess Pals. Club members dress up as princesses and visit children in foster homes, hospitals and shelters who love Disney with the hopes of brightening their days. Tran said that she served as a general member of the club during her first and second years at Davis before serving as the outreach director and eventually president of the club. 

“It’s honestly my favorite club because it’s such a fun group of people to be around and you get to do fun activities with kids, which I really like,” Tran said. 

Tran is also a part of Project Catalyst, which, she explained, combines her interests in education and science.

“What [Project Catalyst] does is go to the elementary schools around Davis and Woodland and give them science experiments to do,” Tran said. “We give them a presentation and walk through it with them. We’re just trying to inspire the next generation of scientists and get them interested in the stem fields.” 

Tran said that though she chose to major in biology, her interest in science extends to other specializations, including chemistry. 

“I’ve been doing research with Dr. Gulacar, who teaches the General Chemistry series,” Tran said. “His research is focused around Chemistry education, which is really fun. I have a couple papers published and we’ve been presenting at conferences too.”

After graduation, Tran hopes to take a gap year to travel and reconnect with friends before attending medical school and possibly specializing in pediatric care.

Her advice for future and current students is to be open to exploration and adventure. 

“I feel like I’ve always been a very cautious person and I always hesitate to do things, but I think I’ve learned to be more spontaneous,” Tran said. “Everything always works out and ends up being fun.”

As she prepares to say goodbye to UC Davis, Tran said that she has been recounting the many great memories she has made over the past four years — especially during her freshman year. She said that though she will be leaving in just a few weeks, Davis will still feel like her home.

“I feel very connected to this place now,” Tran said. “After the four years I’ve spent here, I feel like I’ll always have a very strong attachment to this school and this town.”


Written by: Jalan Tehranifar — features@theaggie.org



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