Kate Kwan Tiu (’25), a Microbiology and Molecular Life Sciences double major in the College of Arts and Sciences at Indiana University Bloomington, has approached her undergraduate studies—and future graduate work—with purpose. Born in the Philippines and raised in the United Arab Emirates, Kwan Tiu’s long-term interest in microbiology was given purpose when she learned that the Philippines is dealing with severe antibiotic resistance to several diseases.
Student spotlight: Kate Kwan Tiu
Kwan Tiu chose IU due to the “unparalleled opportunities it presented in the realm of biology research,” she said. “The Department of Biology at IU is renowned for not just its academic excellence, but more importantly, for its commitment to integrating undergraduates into its cutting-edge research endeavors. This unique emphasis on hands-on experience, even at the undergraduate level, resonated deeply with my aspirations.”
This past summer, Kwan Tiu worked as an Eli Lilly and Company Talent Development Academy intern with the assistance of a Lawrence M. Blatt Biotechnology Internship Fund scholarship from the College’s Walter Center for Career Achievement.
“This generous scholarship donation has served as a significant financial support towards my internship,” she said. “This contribution came at a pivotal stage in my educational trajectory.”
Her internship at Eli Lilly and Company is a step toward a career that could include focusing on solutions for public health problems.
Of her internship experience, she said, “This enriching opportunity provided me with invaluable insights into the pharmaceutical industry, and allowed me to experience firsthand the intricacies of pharmaceutical research and business operations.”
Kwan Tiu worked closely with the Clinical, Design, Delivery, and Analytics department at Eli Lilly, teaching her the importance of teamwork and cross-functional collaboration for completing common goals. “This experience challenged me to step out of my comfort zone,” she said,” hone my problem solving skills, and cultivate resiliency in the face of adversity.”
Her time at Eli Lilly fostered professional relationships, introduced her to mentors and peers who inspired and motivated her, and allowed her to see the importance of the work she was doing. “The most rewarding part of my internship was seeing the tangible impact of my contributions on the company’s operations,” she said, “and potentially on the lives of the patients benefitting from Lilly’s products.”
Kwan Tiu’s time at IU was profoundly shaped by her time as part of the Filipino American Association and experiences in the Winkler Lab. “My passion for microbiology, nurtured and honed here at IU, has inspired me to pursue a Ph.D. in Microbiology,” she said. “I am deeply intrigued by the microscopic wonders that have a profound impact on our macroscopic world, and I'm eager to delve deeper into research that can potentially shape our understanding of microbial ecosystems. Meanwhile, I recognize the importance of understanding the business facet of the scientific world. With this in mind, I am also gearing up to embark on an MBA journey.”
“This dual pursuit aims to equip me with the knowledge to not just contribute to scientific discoveries but also to navigate, lead, and innovate on the business side of biotechnological advancements.”
“This next chapter,” Kwan Tiu said, “is not just about furthering my education, but about molding a holistic perspective that bridges two distinct yet interconnected domains.”
The funding from the Walter Center for Career Achievement and research opportunities afforded by the Department of Biology have set Tiu up for success, and made it possible for her to carve out her own unique career path balancing microbiology and business.