Bruce Chen Recognized for Outstanding Student Leadership

The PhD candidate in genetics was lauded for his time as HGSAC chair, in which he worked to help his fellow graduate students identify a number of possible future career paths.

Bruce Chen receives his award from Huck Director Andrew Read
Bruce Chen receives his award from Huck Director Andrew Read

The Executive Committee of the Huck Institutes presented an award to PhD candidate Di (Bruce) Chen on Tuesday, recognizing him for his leadership as the Graduate Adviser to the Huck Institutes and chair of the Huck Graduate Student Advisory Committee (HGSAC).

Chen is a genetics student who is also pursuing a graduate degree in applied statistics, and who plans to graduate next year. During his time as chair, he promoted opportunities to his colleagues to help them consider multiple potential career trajectories.

"I absolutely loved working with Bruce over this last year," said Dr. Troy Ott, Associate Director for Graduate Education at the Huck Institutes. "He was initially very quiet, and I had some concerns about such a quiet young man and his ability to lead this group, but I was really impressed—not only in his ability to lead the group, but also innovate and develop programs that the graduate students could access, including a much more sophisticated communications network."

"He helped organize workshops, including one on coding in R, and another on grant writing. He led an effort to bring in a number of speakers from the broad disciplinary areas where our students will end up finding employment—not just in academia, but in industry and government and journalism. He helped expose graduate students to the breadth of great careers that are out there."

The HGSAC also organizes the Life Science Symposium at the end of the academic year. The 2019 Symposium welcomed more than 150 attendees, and saw 42 posters presented—four by undergraduates as part of the HUVRS initiative.

"It's been a fantastic year," said Chen. "There was pressure at the beginning when I stepped into a leadership role, but we had an awesome committee—everyone was so energetic and helpful— and we collaborated on everything. "We organized different types of events—seminars, workshops— and we did the Life Science Symposium last month, which was a huge success. I'm glad that we were able to achieve all of these goals over the past year, and I'm really proud of what we can do as a student community, to bring in resources for our fellow grad students."

"The award is a nice recognition, and I'm thankful for all the support that I got from the Huck leadership and from my own committee. This is a huge recognition for what we've achieved as a team."