Outstanding Grad: Wenrun “Frank” Wu, College of Natural Sciences

Wenrun Frank Wu
Wenrun “Frank” Wu

As a college student at Anhui Agricultural University in Hefei, China, Wenrun Wu, who also goes by Frank, decided to make his first journey west to attend Colorado State University.

He enrolled at CSU under the 2+2 undergraduate degree program, part of a partnership between the two universities that aims to expand collaborations and community. It was Wu’s first time in the United States when he transferred in Fall 2018, and he immediately felt the difference.

“Education in the United States is totally different from that in China,” said Wu, who is graduating with a degree in biochemistry. “It pays more attention to the individual development of students.”

He also found the coursework very challenging, and that he had a lot of catching up to do – all in a non-native language for him. He spent extra time auditing lower-level courses to improve his academic background, and with time he pulled his GPA to a 3.8, earning a spot in the CSU Honors Program and allowing him to enroll in graduate-level courses. He was placed on the Dean’s List of the College of Natural Sciences in Fall 2018 and Spring 2019.

Where Wu feels he gained the most at CSU was working in Professor Tom Santangelo’s lab in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Wu came in with no prior research experience, but after some training, stops and starts, he was assigned a project in characterizing transcription termination factors in archaea. He thanks his graduate lab mentor Craig Marshall, as well as Santangelo, for giving him the opportunity to grow and succeed in a research setting.

Wu’s hard work was rewarded with an invitation to present his research at the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology conference in San Diego this spring, which was canceled due to COVID-19, although he still plans to submit a virtual poster. “I am very grateful that our department can provide such a rare opportunity for undergraduates,” Wu said. “This is definitely the greatest honor of my undergraduate years.”

At CSU, Wu said, he has experienced “inclusiveness, understanding, encouragement and support.” He plans to continue his academic career at Northwestern University in a master’s program in biotechnology.

“My experience at CSU will benefit me for the rest of my life.”