Class Year: 2017
Hometown: Portland, Oregon
Major: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Minors: Neuroscience, Computer Science
Extracurriculars: Neuroscience Research, Community Engagement and Leadership in Science (CELS) Program Mentor
What three words would you use to describe L&C?
Welcoming, challenging, enlightening
What has been your favorite class so far? How did it expand your knowledge?
My favorite class was Neurobiology with Associate Professor Tamily Weissman-Unni. It expanded my knowledge by expecting me to not only learn about the processes occurring in the brain, but be able to predict what could be causing specific situations that we would be presented with.
“Lewis & Clark has molded me into an independent thinker, ready to ask the right questions at every turn.”
What made you want to come to Lewis & Clark?
Lewis & Clark felt like home to me the moment I stepped foot on campus. It was welcoming, and warm, and everyone that I met was happy to be here which calmed my nerves about going to college.
How did you get started working in Tamily’s lab? Describe your research.
I started working in the developmental side of Tamily’s lab the summer of 2015 as a Community Engagement and Leadership in Science (CELS) mentor to a high school student. That first summer we spent getting oriented to lab techniques and trying to develop a procedure in which we could highlight neuronal nuclei in a different color than their cell bodies (which were already labeled via Brainbow). The goal with that project was to ease the identification of the number of individual neurons undergoing apoptosis (cell death). We were interested in counting these dying neurons because previous members in the lab had identified a mind-boggling pattern in which a lot of the time the neurons that were dying were from the same family—or rather “clone”. We hypothesized that this unlikely pattern of death may hint at a mechanism for how the brain develops. So the following spring, summer, and fall I worked on analyzing this very pattern we saw using whole-mount immunohistochemistry to stain neurons expressing activated caspase-3, a marker protein for apoptosis. I stained uninjected fish as well as Brainbow-injected fish to determine that apoptosis was occurring exclusively of Brainbow—which it was—and then followed up with Brainbow-injected and imaged fish to see if imaging had an effect on the amount of death we were seeing. This is my exit point and I’m very excited to see the lab bring a new mechanism for brain development to the table.
What are your plans after graduation?
I am dedicating the first year after graduation to really diving into the medical field and getting some experience before applying to medical school.
What’s your favorite spot on campus?
I think the most beautiful spot on campus is the one overlooking the reflecting pool, but my favorite spot (or the spot I spent the most time in) was probably the molecular modeling lab.
What’s your favorite thing about living in Portland?
It’s vibrant, even through the rain.
How do you manage stress?
Friends to talk things out with, and lists to keep us going.
Do you have a job on campus? If so, how do you fit work into your schedule?
I was a teaching assistant for Bio 200 lab this past semester. I use Google Calendar to schedule where I have to be at any given time, and then color code for whether it’s a class, work, or a meeting, and that way I can see everything all at once without being too overwhelmed.
What advice do you have for prospective students?
Make this place your home. And if you can, live on campus for the first year or two. I think that makes it easier to latch on. Lastly, realize that when you’re struggling, there are others struggling with you. Find them and you will be better for it.
How has Lewis & Clark changed you?
Lewis & Clark has molded me into an independent thinker, ready to ask the right questions at every turn. It’s built my confidence in my ability to really understand what is being said, and at the same time made me conscious that these are skills that I am privileged to have and therefore responsible to maintain.