This summer, University of Nebraska at Omaha Maverick Harim Won will be heading to Harvard University to study biological sciences and public health.
Won graduates from UNO in May with a bachelor’s degree in biotechnology. He plans to take what he learned from UNO both socially and academically and apply it to his next phase of education at Harvard.
When Won first began at UNO, he was a pre-med student, but his experiences in the research lab led him to discover his true passions. He enjoyed working on research because it was like “putting together a puzzle.”
The impact that research can have on the future of medicine also interested Won. Scientists, like Jonas Salk, the inventor of the Polio vaccine, have demonstrated how effective the work in this field can be and inspired Won to continue his studies.
During his time at UNO, professors like Paul Davis greatly impacted Won’s experience and inspired him to pursue his current career path.
“I have had access to a lot of solid mentors at UNO, and they made me believe that if going to Harvard was something I wanted to do that I could do it and that helped me quite a bit,” Won said. “Being a Maverick at UNO felt like home for me.”
Won hopes his time at Harvard will enable him to become a mentor himself. He said he could even see himself staying in academia and coming back to UNO.
“Ideally, I would be at a university where I would have the access to undergraduates and have the opportunity to teach and pass on the gift of mentoring that I have been given and be able to do that for future generations of aspiring biomedical scientists,” Won said.
When it came to choosing his next step, Won knew that Harvard was a leader in public health. He wanted the opportunity to work with the best in the field. Won plans to do a lot of work in infectious diseases, though he hasn’t nailed down exactly in what he wants to specialize.
“Harvard was a great fit for me to pursue my Ph.D., not only because of the reputation, but because of the academic programming,” Won said.
For Won, applying to Harvard was similar to applying for other doctoral programs, but there was a bit of added pressure because many of the leaders in his field are there. Now, he is getting ready to embark on the next part of his journey in the program of biological sciences and public health with a focus in immunology and infectious diseases