Nina Zhao is starting her first semester at NYU Abu Dhabi remotely from her hometown in China, but the NYU Abu Dhabi Class of 2024 is looking forward to being able to explore the research laboratories on campus. Zhao has a keen passion in understanding Alzheimer’s disease since attending a research summer camp in Harvard university during high school. The more she learned about the disease and understood its complexity, the more curious she got.
While keen on chasing that curiosity by majoring in either biology or bioengineering, Zhao is also taking full advantage of the liberal arts education system so integral to first-year students at NYUAD. “I want to explore a lot of things outside my interests,” she added.
Collecting, a course by Assistant Professor of Art History Denise-Marie Teece, discusses motivations behind human forming collections. The course — which explores ways we select, order, preserve, and display information and objects — is just one of the many subjects that Zhao has taken this semester to broaden her knowledge across disciplines.
Besides enjoying her classes, Zhao really appreciates the professors making an effort to keep the virtual classes as interesting and engaging as possible. The responsiveness for some of her faculty also took her by surprise. “Two professors responded to my email inquiries almost immediately after I had sent it,” Zhao said.
With her semester off to a good start so far, Zhao aims to stay active socially with her peers for a smoother transition when she eventually gets to meet her classmates in person. In the meantime, she’ll continue to enjoy the best of both worlds: a signature bowl of knife-cut noodles from her hometown in Shanxi while studying and taking in the unique educational experience as a first-year at NYUAD.