Texas Tech University

Cell and Molecular Biology Student Finds Passion in Serving Others

Amanda Bowman

July 10, 2020

Brittany Tu won one of the university’s Student Academic Leadership Awards.

In February, Texas Tech University and the Texas Tech Parents Association announced the 2020 Student Academic Leadership Award recipients to honor outstanding students who excel both in and out of the classroom. We are highlighting Texas Tech University students who were recognized.

Brittany Tu
Brittany Tu

College is a time for personal and professional growth. It's where students decide what majors to declare and what careers to pursue. For Brittany Tu, an Honors College student majoring in cell and molecular biology in the Department of Biological Sciences through Texas Tech University's College of Arts & Sciences, she has a clear path in mind: medicine.

Tu has thrived in the Honors College on the pre-medicine track. She has been involved with Raiders Helping Others, American Medical Student Association and Eta Omicron Nu (HON), an Honors College social and community service organization dedicated to volunteering and helping inspire a love of learning in young children. Serving as the communications coordinator and president has taught Tu valuable leadership skills.

In May 2019, Tu helped organize the annual HON banquet and benefit for the Bayless Elementary Mentoring Program raising scholarship money to send students to academic summer camps at Texas Tech. Through her hard work and energy, aided by HON members, the organization has raised enough money to guarantee this program will continue for at least the next five years.

Tu also is a member of the Undergraduate Research Scholars program. Since 2017, she has been a National Science Foundation (NSF) Fellow working on the Public Health Exposome Project: Health Risk Assessment Using Big Data with Lisa Gittner, an associate professor of political science and a professor of public health at the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC).

Tu's projects have focused on analyzing how variables are related to obesity. She had the privilege and honor of presenting her research to the American Public Health Association's Annual Meeting in Philadelphia in November.

Tu's dedication and hard work was recognized recently when she received one of the university's Student Academic Leadership Awards.

How are you a leader in the classroom?
I lead in the classroom by actively participating in discussion during lecture and asking questions when I don't understand a concept.

How are you a leader outside the classroom?
I enjoy volunteering through numerous student organizations, my favorite being HON and the Bayless Elementary Mentoring Program, both housed in the Honors College. Taking up leadership positions in both of these organizations has allowed me to become more involved in the community. One of the events I am most proud of is the annual HON Banquet, which also serves as a benefit for Bayless, where we raise funds for summer camp scholarships for Bayless Elementary students.

Why did you select your major?
I decided to major in cell and molecular biology because I find learning about the cell and how it works to be the most fascinating field of biology. I have always enjoyed my science and math classes over the others, but biology has always been my favorite.

How do you intend to use your education in the future?
My future career goals involve the field of medicine, but the details are yet to be determined. This August, I will be begin pursuing my medical degree at the TTUHSC School of Medicine, where I hopefully will discover which field I would like to pursue. Right now, I am leaning toward pediatrics, but you never know.

How has Texas Tech helped you along the path to those goals?
Coming to Texas Tech has been the best experience. I absolutely love living in Lubbock, so much so that I am going to be here for four more years. Texas Tech gave me so many opportunities as a pre-med student. The TTUHSC is right down the street and provided me with volunteering and shadowing opportunities. The Honors College provided me with a smaller community within Texas Tech, where I got to know my classmates inside and outside the classroom. I was accepted into the Early Acceptance Program, which extends acceptance to the TTUHSC School of Medicine one year before the normal matriculation cycle and waives the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).

Who has had the biggest impact on you, and why?
There are so many professors and advisers who have helped me over the past four years. One, out of the many, who had a big impact on me was my research mentor, Lisa Gittner. In addition to working in her lab and getting to do undergraduate research, Dr. Gittner has given me academic advice, life advice and been there for me. She really went beyond what a research mentor is expected to do, and I couldn't be happier to have worked with her.