Elliot M Lee

"Why not do it all?"

I first got excited about science all the way back in sixth grade. Our teacher let us look at stentors under a microscope. The little things blew my mind. I couldn’t believe that something so small could be so complicated, and intricate, and alive. Ever since then, I’ve been obsessed by the world just out of sight, right beneath our feet. Heck, I basically made an entire game to get people as excited about the microbial world as I am!

I started teaching myself how to program during my sophomore year of college. I lucked out that year and took a class that set me on the path to where I am today. It was called Innovation Roadmap, and it helped me realize that I was passionate about education, especially how we can use games to make science education more interesting. Oh look at that, it’s that game that I made, again! Innovation Roadmap inspired me to learn coding, which turned out to be a great life choice in general, and an assignment for the class landed me a job at the Genetic Science Learning Center. It was a very good class.

Microbiology is my first love, so going into my senior year, I knew I wanted to apply for a microbiology PhD. I also happened on the website for the Harvard Graduate School of Education, where I saw that you can earn a one-year Masters of Education degree with an emphasis on technology. Since “Why not do it all?” is more or less my life’s motto, I applied to Harvard’s Masters program and a bunch of PhD programs. The short story is, I somehow got into Harvard, and the University of Washington’s PhD programs. Sometimes the world calls your bluff, and when it does, you just KEEP BLUFFING ALL THE WAY TO BOSTON.

I’m wrapping up my degree at Harvard now, then in the Fall of 2018, I’ll be on my way to Seattle. Working in the Elde Lab at the University of Utah, I learned how cool the dynamics are between pathogens and their hosts. The defense systems our bodies have evolved are so complicated and awesome (did you know some of our immune cells turn their DNA into a sticky web, then explode when they detect invaders in the body? How cool is that?!), and all the ways pathogens have evolved to beat those defenses are insane. I cannot wait to start studying them!

If all my academic interests didn’t tip you off already, I’m a huge nerd. I love myself some Dungeons and Dragons, video games, and super hero movies. I also love the water and just about any watersport, especially SCUBA diving. Fish are so lucky and they have no idea how boring it is to live in a 2-dimensional world. And that’s about it! I hope you look through some of the learning activities I’ve put together, and maybe even read some of my publications!