Tawny Neal

Tawny Neal
Cellular & Molecular Biology
Class of 
2011


Tawny Neal

Why did you choose HSU?

When I was looking for schools, UC Davis was my first choice, for genetics. A woman I know who got her PhD from Davis in genetics highly recommended that I do my undergraduate at HSU, and complete my education at Davis. She was right! Instead of having 500 student classes to struggle through, I enjoy the small classes and face time with professors, and I have gotten more hands on experience and research opportunities than I would have ever gotten at somewhere as big as Davis.

If we shuffled your iPod, what 5 songs would most likely come up first?

Parenthesis by The Blow, 99 Problems by Jay-Z, Baby by The Bird and The Bee, Bulletproof by Rilo Kiley, and What We Talkin' Bout by Jay-Z.

Most embarrassing thing on your iPod?

The entire first season of Glee soundtrack.

How do you have fun in Humboldt County?

I am on the Women's Rowing Team, and there is nothing more fun than starting your morning on the bay, with 60 of the coolest girls you'll ever meet, and a giant Rottweiler named Kirby wearing a life vest.

What will you always remember about HSU?

The beauty of the redwoods and fog.

What are you passionate about?

I'm passionate about solving problems, figuring out puzzles, understanding.

Outdoor spot you love

Patrick's Point is an amazingly raw and primal place, and it is only half an hour up the road from us.

What has been your best experience at HSU?

I think it is a tie between my job at the Biology Core Facility and my experiences as a member of our absolutely kick butt rowing team.

Most fascinating thing have you learned recently

I am totally awed by how much cool stuff I've been learning. Every class is hours of “oh my god, what?!” now that I'm in the upper division stuff. I think the coolest thing I learned last semester was how to use viral vectors to insert DNA into a cell and cause expression of a desired trait.

What are you plans after graduation?

I'm applying for a fellowship at Stanford, and looking into graduate schools on the East Coast.

What's your favorite class at HSU?

Cellular Biology with Amy Sprowles was a blast. It was challenging and fun, with fascinating labs and the coolest subject material!

Who was your favorite professor? Why?

I've had so many top notch professors at Humboldt it is hard to just choose one. J.R. Smith was a great professor, he teaches Organic Chemistry. He's kind as all get out, and teaches a difficult subject with passion and humor. If you need to take O-chem, take it from J.R. Smith.

Have any tips for new students?

Don't take any of these classes your first semester: Chem 109, Bio 105, Bot 105, Math 105. They are all intensively, high work level classes, and you don't want to overwhelm yourself while you are still adjusting to living on your own in a new place. Also, don't be afraid to go talk to your professors. If you are having a hard time, or if you get sick, or if anything happens, go talk to them. They are people. They are teachers. They sympathize and want you to do the best you can, and almost every one of them will do everything they can to help you out.

What was the best thing you did last summer?

I had an internship back home, on the island of Maui. It was working with the Maui Forest Bird Recovery Project. I used my lab experience from HSU to work in the lab, doing microscope work to identify invertebrate parts from fecal samples. I also spent almost three weeks in Hanawi Natural Area Reserve, a pristine natural area on Maui with extremely limited access, doing population research on the local Honeycreeper birds. It was an amazing experience.