Leegan Lim’s dedication to research in biomedical, biophysics and urban dance shaped his time at Wake Forest. After graduation, he plans to apply to graduate school and study anthropology.
Q: Describe your research work in biomedical and biophysics as well as urban dance.
A: Research has been both my life and escape at Wake Forest. During the school year, I worked at the Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine (WFIRM) to conduct biomedical and biophysics-related research. For the last three years, I worked in the Liver Lab Group under Dr. Shay Soker and have explored intestinal stem cells, liver stem cells, extracellular matrix, and cancer cell metastasis. During the summers, I traveled and conducted anthropological research on urban dance culture. In 2012, through the ACCIAC grant and under the guidance of Dr. Casey Wasserman, I went to California to investigate the history and culture of popping dance. I went back in 2013 to continue my research. Last summer (2014) through the Richter Scholarship and under the guidance of both Dr. Sherri Lawson Clark and Dr. Wasserman, I went to Curitiba and Sao Paolo, Brazil, to investigate Brazilian street dance culture.
Research has been my source of inspiration and the route towards discovering new facets of identity. At WFIRM, I am constantly reminded of the capability of humankind. Our imagination is truly our only limit. Urban dance research always keeps me grounded and reminds me that everyone’s story matters. We are all one universal people and it is our collective duty to learn about the stories of others, regardless of their race, class, gender, sexuality, affiliations or reputation.
Q: Tell us about your summer research trip to Brazil.
A: Though I didn’t study abroad for a semester, I did conduct research abroad last summer in Brazil through the Richter Fellowship. The Brazilians I stayed with changed a lot of my perception of life. I adopted what they called the “Brazilian way,” trying to live and enjoy each and every moment you are given and tackling problems as they arise. Reflecting on my lifestyle prior to Brazil, I felt that I was too focused on my past and future and not the present.
Q: What extracurricular activity did you enjoy most and why?
A: Momentum Crew has been a space for my creative expression, a supportive, nurturing environment for self and personal growth, and the source of some of the greatest and most unforgettable experiences I’ve had at Wake. I couldn’t describe them in any word other than “family.”
Q: Who were your mentors? Your biggest cheerleaders?
A: I have an endless number of people to thank at Wake Forest for helping me become the person I am today.
I’d like to give a special thank you to Dr. Guthold in the Physics Department for all his support as a proxy advisor. Dr. Shay Soker, and the Liver Lab Team at the Wake Forest Institute of Regenerative Medicine, for inspiring me daily in the field of science and teaching me the skills needed to become a scientist. And the anthropology department for being the most supportive department and group of faculty any student could ask for. Dr. Good, thank you for supporting me through my conference journey. Dr. Clark, thank you for your patience, guidance, support, pep talks, and incredible mentorship through my anthropological and social research journey.
A very special thanks goes to Dr. Casey Wasserman. Thank you for pushing me and supporting me with all my crazy endeavors; I truly wouldn’t be who I am today without you. All of my dreams and goals at Wake Forest have been reached largely due to your help.
Finally, to my friends and family. Thank you being by my side through all my ups and downs.
Q: What shared values do you feel unite the Wake Forest community?
A: Passion. Wake Forest is filled with some of the most passionate people I’ve ever met for hundreds of different causes, crafts and disciplines. The hard work, dedication and perseverance that comes with passion makes some of the entrepreneurship work, research, and community work some of the most revolutionary and instrumental to changing society for the better.
Q: What is the best advice you can give an incoming first-year student?
A: Explore, explore, explore. Both physically and ideologically. Take that Beyonce class, Youth Culture, or Physics of Music Class, even if it isn’t what you want to do in the future. Check out all the different clubs and campus organizations on campus. Try tap dancing, playing golf, juggling, or doing improv comedy. Think of yourself as an empty shopping cart. Feel free to add or remove whatever items you want, but by the end of your journey, you’ll have all the items you’ll need.