Alumnus of the Month: Mark Li - Kazakhstan

By Mark Li, April 25, 2023

Mark Li started his journey as an Intensive English student at Green River College. He is now a Postdoctoral fellow at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School. 

As an international student, the transition to studying in a new country can be both exciting and overwhelming. However, my experience at Green River College (GRC) was made much easier thanks to the friendly and caring community of students and faculty who surrounded me. The guidance and support provided by these individuals enabled me to clearly see how to reach my academic goals, and prepared me for the rigors of the academic arena. My story began in late August of 2012, the time when I became a Green River College student. I spent my first quarter taking Intensive English courses, which was very exciting because I got to meet people from many different places. 


photo of Green River College alumnus Mark Li working in a labratory

Upon transferring to St. Olaf College, I found that the skills and knowledge I had gained at GRC allowed me to seamlessly form meaningful relationships with students and professors alike. This facilitated my exposure to many aspects of academic training, including laboratory work, collaboration with excellent scientists, and the use of cutting-edge technology. My interest in science was further strengthened, leading to my acceptance into a biomedical Ph.D. program at the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine.

As a Ph.D. student, I underwent rigorous academic training, including extensive coursework and laboratory work alongside highly motivated mentors and colleagues. Throughout this training, I had the opportunity to present my research at numerous conferences and symposia, win multiple awards, and contribute to grant writing. These experiences ultimately culminated in the receipt of my Ph.D. degree, a significant accomplishment that marked the beginning of my journey as a postdoctoral scholar.

Today, I am proud to continue my training at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center at Harvard Medical School, where I have the privilege of working alongside some of the world's leading scientists and researchers. Reflecting on my journey, I am grateful for the guidance and support provided by the communities at both GRC and St. Olaf College, and the opportunities these institutions afforded me to grow both academically and personally.

As a young individual seeking to succeed in academia, I strongly believe that stepping outside of one's comfort zone, reaching out to others, and exploring new and exciting directions is critical. Green River College, with its dedicated and welcoming community, provides a perfect environment for students to embark on such journeys. Even today, I maintain a close relationship with the staff at the International Programs Office, including Oksana Knyaz, who has been a constant source of encouragement throughout my academic journey.



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