Biologist — College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
Explain your career path
After attending Southeast, I moved to Baltimore to pursue my PhD in immunology at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in the lab of Dr. Elizabeth Jaffee. My thesis project focused on developing immunotherapies for patients with pancreatic cancer. After finishing my PhD, I continued working with clinicians at JHU to develop gastrointestinal cancer clinical trials using immunotherapies before transitioning to the FDA, where I now work as a biologist evaluating the safety and efficacy of cancer drugs.
What was your major at Southeast and how would you characterize the quality of that program to prospective students?
I double majored in molecular biology and biochemistry. The biology program at SEMO is where I learned the fundamental lab skills I needed to complete my PhD and also where I developed my passion for cancer immunology.
Why did you choose to attend Southeast?
I anticipated pursuing a post-graduate degree when searching for schools, and Southeast was an affordable option with a science program that would provide me with a solid foundation without putting me into unnecessary debt.
Who influenced you most during your time at Southeast?
The friends I made along the way.
Share your best college memory.
Getting hit by a truck on a bike in front of an incredibly hot baseball player from my genetics class and subsequently having him recount the story in class.
If you were in Greek Life, the Honors Program or any other student organization, please tell us about that experience and how it impacted you.
The Honors Program had free printing.
What is the most important thing you learned while you were at Southeast?
Don’t be afraid of being who you are - people are a lot more accepting than you might think.
Describe Southeast in three words.
Impossible to bike
What advice would you give current students or recent graduates interested in pursuing a career in your professional field?
Pursue as many research experiences as possible, even if they aren’t the most exciting topics. Understanding how to approach a problem and ask the right question to solve it is the most important aspect of scientific research, and it can be learned working on any project. Also, learning as many lab techniques as possible and how to troubleshoot them when your experiment inevitably blows up in your face doesn’t hurt either.