January 20, 2017 12:00 pm

Why PhD student Soon Flynn loves his Surface Pro 4

By / Surface Product Marketing Manager

“My Surface is the only means I have to express myself outside of my head to the physical world – seriously; it makes such a big difference to my life and my studies.  As a person with Autism it’s an imperative tool to communicate with others.” – Soon Flynn, Ph.D. student studying Biology at Arizona State University.

Working in Kathleen Pigg’s Ph.D. Lab, Soon is blowing up a photo to examine the smaller details such as venation and margins on the acer samaras fossil then adding it to his PDF presentation for National Fossil Day in Republic Washington.  

Working in Doctor Kathleen Pigg’s Lab, Soon is blowing up a photo to examine the smaller details such as venation and margins on the acer samaras fossil then adding it to his PDF presentation for National Fossil Day in Republic Washington.

Soon got his Surface Pro 4 when he joined ASU as a doctoral student and he knew exactly why he wanted one.

“The size, portability and picture quality is perfect! Just the right amount of space to work on what I need with the portability of a tablet. I needed it to handle Adobe Photoshop on the side in addition to my assistive technology such as ZoomText and Jaws. I needed a computer that could handle computing and match my active lifestyle without weighing too much or decelerating me”.

Soon is a very determined student with a bubbly personality and a positive outlook on life, something that is both surprising and inspiring when you get to know more about his background. Soon grew up near Boston, Massachusetts, and experienced a tough childhood through both his adoption from Korea and his time at school where he battled multiple illnesses and poverty. But Soon stayed true to his passion for biology – all stemming from his love for trees when he was a child, often wondering how they grew and what their history was (every tree has a story!). Having started as an undergrad at ASU for two years, Soon skipped his M.A. and went straight to a PhD program – looking at fossils of the Acer family (Maple trees) where there could be a new undescribed species.

Having started as an undergrad at ASU for two years, Soon skipped his M.A. and went straight to a PhD program – looking at fossils of the Acer family (Maple trees) where there could be a new undescribed species.

The power and touch capabilities of a Surface Pro 4 enables Soon to use programs like Abode Photoshop, LightRoom, Acrobat Pro and Microsoft Office to do his graduate studies – “lots of writing and looking at photos, using the pen to take notes on lecture slides, comparing small intricate details in fossils where a good screen size is imperative.” Photoshop is truly handy when altering specimen photos to make posters, fix photos for articles or to simply zoom in further to get more detail or mirror the image. “I could never get Photoshop to work well enough on my old computer,” he says.

Gossypium barbadense Pima cotton boll. Showing extensive damage done by the Pink boll worm Pectinophora gossypiella. Here I am cleaning up my photo, adjusting the light exposure and adding text with a measure bar.  This photo will be used by the USDA at an Entomology conference. 

Gossypium barbadense Pima cotton boll. Showing extensive damage done by the Pink boll worm Pectinophora gossypiella. Here I am cleaning up my photo, adjusting the light exposure and adding text with a measure bar.  This photo will be used by the USDA at an Entomology conference.

Outside of Soon’s everyday studies, he uses his Surface to do presentations and helps tutor middle school students in math and science. After he finishes his Ph.D. program, Soon plans to take a well-deserved break and hike the Appalachian Mountains trail with his twin brother for the second time.

Soon really appreciates how much his Surface Pro 4 has helped his studies. The power, versatility and portability of a Surface is something he struggled to find in an alternative laptop.

“Without the Surface Pro 4 my life is at a standstill.  It touches the very corner of what I do, how I’m immersed in my academic life and communicating with the world around me.”

Updated January 23, 2017 12:06 pm