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Hanna He (University of Southern California, Class of 2019) was excited to join Breakthrough New York as a middle school student. Having immigrated at a young age, she saw the program as an opportunity to develop a supportive network to guide her through the NYC school system.

Okay to Ask Questions

When she first started Breakthrough, Hanna considered herself a perfectionist. Seeing that her classmates were also very smart and motivated challenged this notion that she needed to have all the answers.

“You’re allowed to make mistakes,” she reflects. “You’re allowed to ask questions. You’re allowed to not know everything.”

She also remembers how Breakthrough is unique from other enrichment programs she attended. The staff made the effort to connect with students both inside and outside the classroom. She felt more motivated to succeed when she saw that her teachers cared about their roles as educators.

Taking a Different Path

As a 7th grader, Hanna originally planned to earn a doctor of pharmacy and become a pharmacist – plans that did not turn out as expected in college. “I changed my major three times, which is a terrifying experience – knowing that this thought-out plan wasn’t working,” she says. “Just enjoy it. Don’t be so rigid.”

Hanna is now a clinical research coordinator, where she manages trials for COVID-19 vaccines for adolescents and pediatrics. She was exposed to research as a psychology major in college, and wanted to continue in a field that was not focused on business or sales. She eventually wants to move to a larger pharmaceutical company that develops trials that are conducted across the country.

Connect with Hanna on LinkedIn.

39 Broadway, Suite 820
New York, NY 10006
[email protected]
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