My biggest influence to study biology was one of my high school biology teachers. Prior to taking IB chemistry and biology my junior and senior year of high school, I didn’t really like the sciences — I thought they were boring! I realize now they are everything but. I have always been one to push myself, and this teacher’s class pushed me in a way no other classes had, and I loved it.
I am extremely thankful for those influential science classes that really opened my eyes to STEM fields. Teaching and biology are my high school teacher's passions, and through her teaching she has instilled a passion for biology in me, as well. My fiancé has also been a huge encouragement and played a big role in the choices I have made. He is an engineer and has been influential in my pursuit of a STEM career.
Part of the reason I decided to come to SPU is the Christian environment. I am very glad I was able to get a private school experience before I return to a public school for my graduate work.
In high school, I was uncomfortable with the idea of reconciling my Christian faith and being a scientist. In “Issues and Values in Biology,” I have been able to closely study how faith and science can live together. This is extremely important to me because it has allowed me to be comfortable with being a scientist and maintaining my faith. I have loved having Christian professors who are willing to give advice about school, life, and faith. It is wonderful to have strong Godly mentors who are also fantastic scientists and all-around passionate and loving people.
Two of the biggest highlights during my time in the Biology Department have been being a teaching assistant and doing research with Dr. Ridgway. I hadn’t thought initially that I wanted to be a TA, but I’ve been a TA for 12 classes now! This has really allowed me to actualize my love of teaching at a university level, something I am interested in pursuing in the future. My research with Dr. Ridgway has also been fundamental in my success in securing a summer internship at the Mayo Clinic and ultimately getting into graduate school.
My overall experience in the program has been wonderful! This was the perfect program for me; I grew and learned more than I ever thought I could, not only in my scientific understanding and ability but also as an individual and in my relationship with Christ.