Photo of CSUEB alumnus Terrence Wong '11

Terrence Wong '11 credits CSUEB professors with helping him to succeed. (Photo: courtesy of Terrence Wong)

From poverty to medical school, CSUEB grad credits profs for his success

  • April 17, 2013 5:00am

Researching colorectal cancer may seem a far reach for an ethnic studies major, but  Terrence Wong, BA, ethnic studies (’11), credits his mentorship with  Nicholas Baham, associate professor and chair of the ethnic studies department, and  Erik Helgren, associate professor of physics, with providing him a balanced exposure between the humanities and physical sciences. 

“The nurturing environment of Cal State East Bay has been responsible for all the success that I have had in life,” said Wong. “The unique experience I had [at CSUEB] provided me with a balanced education that will one day allow me to – hopefully- be a leader in medicine.”  He also believes that doing undergraduate research with Helgren coupled with academic excellence made his search to find work as a scientist, “incredibly easy”.

At the Commonwealth Medical College, Wong is attempting to understand the relationship between dietary fiber and colorectal cancer. “This type of research is integral to our aging population because many people will be affected by this disease in the near future,” said Wong.  He’ll soon have the opportunity to share his fiber research with patients because Wong has been accepted to the University of Iowa’s Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine.

His advice to current Pioneers? “Work hard!” said Wong. “I learned that networking and strong work ethics will get you very far…” Wong added, “Although I spent the majority of my childhood in Richmond, CA, and Oakland, CA, I have succeeded academically and reached a top 30 medical school. I can still remember when all of my friends were in gangs. Had I continued my endeavors with my previous friends, I would have definitely ended up ruining or ending my life. I had a life-changing experience at CSUEB.”


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California State University, East Bay is the San Francisco East Bay Area's high-access public university of choice. CSUEB serves the region with campuses in Hayward and Concord, a professional development center in Oakland, and an innovative online campus. With an enrollment of more than 14,000, the University offers a nationally recognized freshman year experience, award-winning curriculum, personalized instruction, and expert faculty. Students choose from among more than 100 professionally focused fields of study for which the University confers bachelor's and master's degrees, as well as an Ed.D. in education. Named a "Best in the West" college, as well as a Best Business School, by the influential Princeton Review, Cal State East Bay is among the region's foremost producers of teachers, business professionals and entrepreneurs, public administrators, health professionals, literary and performing artists, and science and math graduates.

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