From researching tuberculosis and pancreatic cancer to taking part in service and justice programs, I had the opportunity to make a real difference because I’m a Bluejay.
Chemistry, College of Arts and Sciences
When I initially toured campus and learned about the cool opportunities available, I knew I would become a Bluejay. One of the opportunities that stood out to me was research. As a chemistry major, I worked on several research projects. One of the projects involved studying tuberculosis. We monitored compounds that can hinder progression of the disease by acting on certain enzymes.
Another involved studying pancreatic cancer, which is well known for its stealth and is often detected only late in its progression. We assessed whether the concentration of certain kinds of proteins increases over the progression of this type of cancer. If so, and if those proteins can be detected early at really small concentrations, then we might be able to detect it more easily.
Chemistry is critical of all the projects I took part in, and these experiences are assisting me in my pursuit of a PhD in chemistry. I loved that the projects were exciting, meaningful and full of potential to improve human life.
Outside the classroom, I performed weekly service and went on service trips over multiple spring breaks. Those trips allowed me to work with individuals in Omaha, Milwaukee and Clinton, Iowa.
Perhaps the most important thing I learned is that answers don’t always come easily and that’s OK. That’s certainly true in research.