Jenny Lu, Health + Tech ’23 (Integrative Biology): “I want to continue dedicating my time to developing human connections.”
On innovating in healthcare, giving back to the community, and realizing you’re more than your resume
Jenny Lu arrived at UC Berkeley curious about the mechanisms that make life work. To indulge that curiosity, she chose to study integrative biology and creative writing, the latter of which allows her to take a more imaginative approach to science. Her goal? To innovate and conduct research that improves the field of healthcare and the lives of her community members. Coincidentally, joining the Fung Fellowship program aligned well with that goal.
What led you to apply and join the Fung Fellowship?
I first saw the opportunity to join the Fung Fellowship in a newsletter for my major and was immediately intrigued by their mission to connect healthcare and technology using empathy. I love biology and wanted to use my knowledge and skills to give back to my community in innovative and intentional ways, and I thought the Fung Fellowship would be a great way for me to start doing so.
I also found out that an older friend of mine had been in the Fung Fellowship and raved about how it completely changed his career path for the better. It allowed him to incorporate both his passion for public health and technology and as someone who wants to enter the biotech field after graduation, this greatly intrigued me.
I did not really know what to expect but even the questions on the application for the FF were so human-focused that it made me feel like I entered the fellowship as a whole person who was more than just the sum of my major and work experiences.
What have you learned about yourself since joining the Fung Fellowship?
I’ve learned that I really like human-centered design principles. Being able to create journey maps, utilize empathy, and conduct interviews of stakeholders makes me feel more connected to the process and the people who my project will affect. I want to be able to use human-centered design in my future career aspirations and will look forward to finding ways to incorporate them into my projects.
Is there something you are currently working on that you would like to share?
This semester with the Fung Fellowship, my team and I are working with Thriving Pink — a non-profit organization in Yolo County that supports people who have been impacted by breast cancer — to find the gaps in the services they provide and improve their connection with the community they serve.
What are your professional goals?
Currently, I am looking forward to entering the workforce upon graduation and then moving on to graduate school. I would love to start in a biotechnology company but am still exploring so feel free to reach out!
What are some of your non-academic hobbies and passions?
I am involved in Kesem Berkeley, a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting children ages 6–18 who have been affected by a parent’s cancer. Last summer, I served as the Operations Co-Coordinator and along with my team, planned two week-long sleep-away camps filled with activities serving over 250 children.
This was the first year we were back in-person, so there were kinks to work out but it was one of the best experiences I have ever had the privilege of creating and enjoying. Through Kesem Berkeley, I learned that I want to continue dedicating my time to developing human connections that make the world a better place.
I also believe that history and the context that surrounds science is incredibly important, which is also a reason I am interested in Paleontology. I am working in the Charles Marshall Lab to study mammalian phylogenies in the Great American Biotic Interchange to help inform conservation efforts of endemic species.
What kind of impact do you want to have on the world?
I want to be a part of the scientific community that is interdisciplinary and uses those mixed skills in order to improve the world, whether that is through the creation of new therapeutics, new systems of managing health care data, or inclusive science communication.
I have a 976 day streak on Duolingo learning French! I also speak Vietnamese and Cantonese.