Taralyn “Tari” Tan (‘08), an Honors College graduate with a degree in Biochemistry and Biophysics and a minor in Psychology at Oregon State University received the Goldwater scholarship during her sophomore year. Tari recalls research experiences afforded by the Goldwater as important in shaping a love of learning, mentorship, and teaching which helped her discover a passion for the research process.

Tari recommends undergraduate students begin making connections with professors and advisors, noting “advisors and mentors can be a bridge to get you into research so that you can explore your unique interests”. To this day Tari’s undergraduate mentors are still a source of support who encourage her to pursue new ideas and opportunities.

Additionally, Tari advises current students to be flexible in what they are thinking about as a career. She herself started undergrad set on medical school as the eventual goal, but along the way research and teaching opportunities helped influence her decision to pursue a career in academia. Tari challenges students to reflect on the “why” when thinking about career options and research opportunities.

Today Dr. Taralyn Tan is completing an education postdoc as the Curriculum Fellow for Harvard Medical School’s Department of Neurobiology and the Harvard graduate Program in Neuroscience. In this role, Tari is designing and implementing new curricula that reflects the modern landscape of neuroscience research and pedagogical best practices. She received a PhD in Neuroscience from Harvard University in 2016 and will continue to pursue a career in academia where her love of teaching and research coexist.

Oregon State University – Goldwater Vignettes
By Brittney Chesher