photo by Jenna Stoyanov

Snapshots: Life at the College Of Natural Sciences

By Jenna Stoyanov

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Each week, burnt x will feature one student from one of UT’s 13 colleges. This week, we’ll feature Celine-Lea Halioua-Haubold, a fourth-year neuroscience student at the College of Natural Sciences.


photo by Jenna Stoyanov


A bit about Celine-Lea Halioua-Haubold:


“I am a fourth-year Neuroscience major at UT-Austin. I actually entered UT as a Studio Art major, strangely enough. I am very lucky that my passion and my career goals align perfectly: I want to help develop better treatments for cancers and neurological disorders, the vast majority of which have no effective treatment, and almost all are without a cure. In my free time, I ride my Belgian Warmblood, Goon, and let off steam by weightlifting.”


What made you want to attend UT?


I grew up in Austin, which meant that I basically grew up at UT. I went to Explore UT every year, I attended Hot Science Cool Talks, I took school trips to campus….I felt like I was a Longhorn long before I officially enrolled as a freshman!”


Why did you choose your major?


The summer before my freshman year, I interned at a radiology clinic. Considering I was about to enter art school, I have no idea why I decided to do this. But I am so happy I did, because when I was there I got to see the brain for the first time through MRI imaging. I wasn’t very academically focused in middle and high school, but the curiosity seeing a brain sparked in me turned me from someone who often received menacing letters in the mail from the Sheriff about truancy, to a committed student.”


Celine-Lea and her horse, Goon / contributed


What is your average day like?


I am a senior now, so my days are pretty chill. However, most semesters were decidedly not chill. Most of my four years I balanced full coursework with a part-time job tutoring, volunteering at a therapeutic riding center, and spent 20 hours a week in the lab working on a variety of projects. While I struggled a lot with work-life balance, I don’t regret it too much because it helped me hone my interests.”



Why is the College of Natural Sciences the best school?


The professors in CNS are very open and generous with their time and knowledge. My supervisors took large amounts of their personal time to teach me in the lab and to advise me on my future plans. Also, some of the technology the college has is so cool. Like the telescope on top of RLM. The massive super strong laser. A very fancy, very expensive MRI machine. A mouse-sized MRI machine to match. We even have a cabinet of brains hidden down in a basement!”


photo by Jenna Stoyanov


How much time do you spend studying per week?


Before senior year, I probably spent 40-50 hours a week studying including class time (yikes…). I probably study more than the average student. I definitely overstudy. Guilty as charged.”


Are you currently working on any projects?


Currently, no, but I have worked on a lot of cool projects. I ran my own project where I made fluorescent nanoparticles and tested their ability to make neurons glow. That was a ton of fun. I was able to spend two summers in the beautiful La Jolla, California doing research on brain cancer cells. This summer, I am moving to San Francisco to work at a biotechnology start-up.”