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Pre-Med Major Becomes First Cairn Graduate to Pursue a PhD in Chemistry at University of Pittsburgh

Yisheng (Ethan) Sun, a senior pre-med student graduating this spring, has been accepted into University of Pittsburgh’s PhD program in chemistry. In addition to enrolling in this program, Yisheng has accepted a teaching fellowship position, where he will supervise and instruct undergrad labs for several courses, including organic chemistry. Not only is Yisheng the first Cairn student to be accepted into a PhD chemistry program, he is also the first graduate with a minor in chemistry. 

While Yisheng’s main area of interest was pre-med, his love for chemistry blossomed as he studied under his numerous science professors. His interest in organic chemistry and biochemistry has given him the ultimate desire to pursue doctoral-level research in chemistry instead of biology, with a goal to “synthesize novel molecules or therapeutic agents that inhibit genetic disease or cure injury at a molecular level, construct polymers for new materials to mitigate certain environmental issues, or design new mechanisms that improve synthetic efficiency.” 

Yisheng cites the support of his professors as role models and well-suited instructors for bringing him to this major milestone: “Throughout my four years at Cairn, I gained numerous insights from how my professors approached biology and chemistry with a biblical worldview. Dr. Bell showed me the strongest supportive evidence for the design argument; Dr. Eshelman introduced his theology of the human body; Professor Jensen refreshed my understanding of what science is and its relationship with Christian discipleship; and Dr. Khushman shared various biblical references in relevance to medicine. All these meaningful discussions prepared me to walk a different path in the field of science.”


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