Julie Srail’s squelching boots didn’t dampen her spirits last May as she gathered pond weed at Omaha’s Carter Lake. As a recent graduate, Srail, BS’22, is set for future success in medical school thanks to her undergraduate research experience at Creighton, where students learn to put heart into action.
Q. What are you doing here, today?
A. We are looking at how pondweed is pollinated, and to do that we have to collect samples. It is not a hard plant to find, it exists in a lot of ponds. We can use this research to help make more pond weed, if necessary, perhaps to improve the environment for waterfowl. It’s really about understanding the evolutionary links between plants that are pollinated through water, and plants that aren’t pollinated through water.
Q. Your boots are squelching. Are you enjoying this?
A. I love doing this. It's a lot of fun to get outside with my lab mates and my research advisor and just look at plants all day. We do lab work with the samples, so I get both sides of research, which is really fun. And I like the way the water presses on my waders. It kind of feels like some sort of hydrotherapy.
Q. Dr. (Mackenzie) Taylor is here. Is that kind of faculty support common at Creighton?
A. Yeah. I've gotten to know a lot of the biology faculty, either through being a teaching assistant, or tutoring in their classes, or being in Dr. Taylor's research lab. Experiencing all those different sides of biology education has helped me to deepen my relationship with faculty.
Q. Do you feel Creighton is preparing you for your future?
A. I do think I'm being prepared for my future. This kind of research will help when I apply to medical school in about two years. My goal is to become an OB-GYN, so I will have to understand how scientific research is done and how to apply that research to patients. My road with Creighton was a roller coaster because of the pandemic, but it's been a good ride.