College of Liberal Arts & Sciences

Curiosity and passion drives Qu to chemistry at Illinois

Fiona Qu is a Eunice Wu Memorial Scholar, carrying on a tradition of excellence in chemistry.

Fiona Qu

Fiona Qu, class of 2019, is an undergraduate member of Dr. Eric Oldfield’s lab. Fiona grew up in Boston, raised by Chinese immigrant parents whose emphasis on learning was instrumental in shaping her own educational outlook.

“Their drive and passion for learning encouraged me to find fields of study which inspired the same sense of curiosity,” she said. “I was also lucky to have teachers and mentors who encouraged me to study deeply and broadly across all disciplines. This philosophy of learning for the sake of learning has served me well, encouraging me to become involved in campus opportunities beyond the classroom.”

Fiona is a Eunice Wu Memorial Scholar. Friends and family established the Eunice S. Wu Memorial Fund for Chinese American Women in Chemistry to honor an Asian American woman studying and excelling in chemistry at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. The scholarship is awarded every year on May 26th, Eunice’s birthday. Eunice received her Master’s degree in chemistry from Illinois in 1961.

Fiona chose to study chemistry “because I believe it is an increasingly relevant and important field to be in. There is so much to learn and accomplish within the field itself as well as in the intersection and collaboration with other scientific disciplines. I am doing currently research at the U of I involving enzymes in the isoprenoid biosynthesis pathway, which are important potential targets for new and novel drugs combating the pressing issue of antibiotic resistance. I particularly enjoy learning new scientific techniques and developing the skills needed to design and conduct successful experiments, skills I will hopefully take with me to graduate school in the future.”

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