Dr. Hiyas A. Junio, Class of 2011

BS, Chemistry, University of Philippines, Diliman
PhD, Medicinal Biochemistry, University of North Carolina at Greensboro
Assistant Professor, University of Philippines, Diliman

I come from the Philippines, and chose to go to school in North Carolina because my aunt lives there.  Going to the US for the first time was daunting, so having a relative nearby helped assuage that feeling.  I chose UNCG because I was looking for a research experience that would allow me to go from natural products to analytical chemistry, and that turned out to be Dr. Cech’s lab.

After graduating from UNCG in 2011, I did a post doc at Indiana University, and then took my current position as Assistant Professor at the University of Philippines, Diliman.   I currently handle organic chemistry classes for both chemistry major and non-major undergraduate students as well as graduate courses involving mass spectrometry and medicinal biochemistry. I also have my own research group, with one research assistant and 5 undergraduate thesis students.  The interdisciplinary aspect of my training at UNCG really helped me prepare for my current position. I work in different research areas now and collaborate with people from other fields.  My research experience also helped me to become a better career adviser to our graduate students; I am well aware of techniques in other fields.

I think what I liked best about the PhD program at UNCG was the opportunity that I had to work with my mentors. I heard a lot of horror stories about ending up with unreasonable supervisors, and I am just so thankful that mine were so cool and generous. Their generosity, support, and encouragement made me more determined not to be a disappointing student. The mentoring that I experienced at UNCG is the same type of mentoring that I am trying to practice with my students. I hope I become as bold and as aggressive as my mentors in matters concerning research, but as careful and considerate in matters concerning people.  You don’t get to learn that in a manual.  You only get to see and experience it, and I am lucky that I was surrounded with people who are such good examples.