Diving into the Atlantic Ocean waves sounds like a great way to cap off a long day of research. For the past two summers, Emily Simon has had the chance to do just that.
Emily is studying molecular biology with a minor in chemistry. She's always known she wanted to be a scientist, and the Bayer School was appealing because of the plethora of programs available that expand on the "4-year college experience," such as the Chemistry 4+1 program and Master of Biotechnology.
Being able to start engaging in research right off the bat was a huge selling point. Emily explains that she was a "really inspired little freshman" and that she received ample support from Dr. Brady Porter, who supplied her with her first lab experience. That experience led to future lab experiences and internships, as companies were impressed at how much she had accomplished already.
This year, Emily spent her second summer in a row at Florida Atlantic University's Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, working with Dr. Amy Wright, the head of Natural Products Drug Development. She blames the experience for her newfound interest in chemistry: "I'm researching an area that I didn't expect to be interested in, because Dr. Wright was able to show me a different side of it. Using things we got from the ocean to find cures for sicknesses and diseases has been amazing."
She also cites Duquesne faculty as culprits in developing her as a scientist. Faculty like Dr. Paul Johnson in the chemistry department and Dr. Jason Heming in biology have helped Emily along her academic journey. "Being able to have conversations with professors outside of the classroom has been really special. I can go to them when I have issues and they answer any questions that come up. I have a really big group of people in my department who support me."
Emily plans on earning her PhD in something related to chemical biology. She'd like to do research in something drug-related for a while before one day passing on her knowledge at a university.
If she could give 10-year-old Emily one piece of advice, it would be to focus on the things she wants rather than what other people think: "I feel like you miss out on a lot of experiences when you think what you do is going to matter to other people. Throughout my time at Duquesne, I've been able to focus on myself a lot more."
What gets Emily out of bed in the morning? The people around her. She says that the people in her department, her friends, and her roommate all contribute to her being able to focus on classwork and really enjoy her college experience.
We're glad she chose to grow with us here at The Bayer School.