Musician-Turned-Chemist Named UF’s First Knight-Hennessy Scholar

May 7 | Yu Tin Lin will attend Stanford University for a Ph.D. in Chemistry.

Musician-Turned-Chemist Named UF’s First Knight-Hennessy Scholar

UF’s Student Success and the Office of Prestigious Awards congratulate Yu Tin Lin on becoming the university’s first Gator to receive the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship. He will join the 2024 Cohort, the seventh class in the award’s history, and use it to fund a PhD in Chemistry from Stanford University. 

The Knight-Hennessy Scholarship focuses on developing young leaders pursuing postgraduate degrees across all academic fields at Stanford. Scholars receive many benefits, including generous funding and a building designated for the scholar community. The scholarship delivers a collaborative experience where students learn together on impactful projects.

Lin’s record of excellence at the University of Florida:  

  • 2024 graduate with a triple major in Biochemistry, Biology, and Statistics  
  • 2023 Goldwater Scholar  
  • Honors student  
  • Earned a Music in Medicine certificate  
  • Served as a Teaching Assistant  
  • Presented research findings at scientific conferences, including UF’s Fall Undergraduate Research Symposium  

Yu Tin Lin, Knight Hennessy Scholar, standing in a white laboratory, posing with his arms behind his back and smiling in a white lab coat.Trained as a professional musician from a young age, Lin didn’t realize his passion for science until his freshman year at UF. “…I discovered that doing science is a lot of fun,” he says. “I joined the Boone Prentice Research Group and worked closely under my graduate mentor, Chelsey Mertens, for about 7 months before leading collaborative research projects in my lab.”

After learning he won the Knight-Hennessy Scholarship, Lin’s sense of responsibility for changing the world grew stronger. He is “dedicated to finding ‘North Star’ questions” in his research field. Lin plans to leverage Stanford’s resources to transform biological research and empower human health.

Lin joined the Prentice Research Group in 2021, a laboratory focusing on novel chemistries and next-generation mass spectrometry. Dr. Boone Prentice, who leads the group, also wrote one of Lin’s letters of recommendation for the Knight-Hennessy application. “[Lin] is relentless in his pursuit of science, which is matched by his infectious positive attitude and desire to explore new, unknown frontiers,” says Dr. Prentice. “I hope that [he] maintains his enthusiasm, curiosity, and creativity for research, and I hope that he is scientifically challenged, which will help him grow into an even better scientist.” 

The Knight-Hennessy Scholarship is highly competitive and pushes scholars to overcome challenges. Like all prestigious awards, the benefits of applying are well worth the time investment. Lin found the process inspirational. “I would say the biggest challenge is knowing yourself and finding your meaning in life,” he says. “I consider an application successful if an applicant discovers a lot about themselves…and finishes with even more questions to answer.”  

The Knight-Hennessy Scholarship welcomes people of all citizenries to apply. Contact the Office of Prestigious Awards for more details and to explore other awards for postgraduate opportunities. 

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Written by Braden Blue and Kelly J. Medley.