Hometown: Imperial, Pennsylvania
Undergraduate Institution: Westminster College, New Wilmington, Pennsylvania
When I began to think about my future as a scientist and the possibilities before me, the only thing I was certain about was that I wanted to make a difference, wherever I was. Even though science requires a calculating mind, unending perseverance, and a lot of caffeine, the real drive behind research is the idea that your work has an effect on the world. What better place to influence science than a children’s hospital? What better institution than one that takes a bench to beside approach to medical research? I also wanted an atmosphere that was conducive to collaboration. I had no idea that when I applied to the MDB program, that I would get just that and more.
Coming from a small liberal arts college in western Pennsylvania, I don’t think I was expecting all that awaited me in Cincinnati. Of course you can read about our program, visit the facilities, and hear about how great it is from other people, but until you’re here, there’s nothing that can really describe Cincinnati Children’s. I wake up every day excited to come to work, to make a difference, and to collaborate with some of the most brilliant minds in research today. I know that I’m in the right place to make my professional goals become a reality while being a part of an institution that is committed to understanding and fighting childhood diseases.
I am a member of Jim Wells’ lab and our main focus is on endodermal derived organ development. More specifically, I am using mouse and pluripotent stem cell derived organoid models to discover how a very specific population of cells within the fetal intestine differentiates into 15 different subtypes of hormone producing cells. I’ve been able to greatly expand my skill set, working not only on lab techniques, but learning mouse surgical procedures, as well as honing writing, presentation, and communication skills. I’ve been introduced to some amazing mentors within the program, who offer essential feedback to my project as well as help me think about my future in science. I’ve also been introduced to outside labs, PIs, and members of industry, whose critiques, ideas, and guidance allow me to push to my full potential. There is no doubt that the MDB program was the perfect choice for my graduate career. I feel I am in the exact place I need to be in order to set myself up for a successful future in science.