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Kenny Nguyen (Hilliard, OH), a Purdue University senior majoring in neurobiology and physiology, knows something about applying classroom learning to real-life research work.

“Taking joint lecture-lab science courses not only taught me about the life cycle of cells, but also how to raise them in a real research environment,” he noted.

In 2015, Nguyen experienced a “real” research environment, when he was selected as a Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship intern and received the William H. Phillips Undergraduate Research Grant from the Purdue Department of Biological Sciences. In addition, he completed an internship at the National Institutes of Health.

In the Fall 2016 edition of JPUR (Journal of Purdue Undergraduate Research), Nguyen published “Degeneration of Neuronal Mitochondria in Parkinson’s Disease” (p. 41), the result of his studies examining “the degeneration of mitochondria in neurons and the implications in Parkinson’s disease.”

The information literacy skills Nguyen — who plans to pursue an M.D. or a Ph.D. in the medical field — has developed in his coursework at Purdue has led to his successful research, publishing, and internship endeavors outside of the classroom.

In his answers below, Nguyen talks about the ways he has learned to use information in his undergraduate studies at Purdue, as well as why it will be important for him to continue to develop his information literacy skills throughout his career in the medical field.

Q. What ways are you learning to use information at Purdue that will be useful for your future professional (or personal ) endeavors?

Through Purdue, I am learning how to apply the information I have learned in the classroom into real-life work directly, such as research or in medical centers. These skills will be vital to me in my future career in the medical field, in which physicians are expected to be updated continually on the progress of medical technology, news, and research. I will be expected to understand these findings and apply them directly to my work. I believe that my time at Purdue has strongly prepared me for my future profession.

Q. Describe a time when you learned to use information in a new way to help you accomplish something.

I used to be the managing editor for the “Purdue Review, Inc.,” the premier campus news magazine. In 2015, we decided to venture onto the online platform to provide news for students in a more easily accessible, convenient manner. None of the members in our organization had knowledge on developing a website, so we used the information and resources available to us for our advantage.

The design team had to learn to design not only magazine spreads, but also online pages, and the writers had to learn how to write articles in a succinct, eye-catching manner that is more suitable for online. And I learned how to upload news articles online and manage the operations of the website.

I had knowledge on how to use Microsoft Office, and by applying the information and skills that I was already familiar with, I learned to effectively use an online software that was entirely new to me.

Q. Have you learned to use information in a course that you have applied to a different situation?

During my freshman year I took a course called COM 217, “Science Writing and Presentation.” In this course, I learned the basics of presenting science to informed and lay audience members, how to craft compelling and informative posters, and write science articles. I used the skills and information I learned in this course to present my research poster for the first time at the Purdue Undergraduate Research Symposium, and publish my work in the 2016 edition of JPUR. Had I not taken this course, I would not have known how to present science, both orally and through writing, effectively.