Laura Broederdorf '09

Laura Broederdorf '09

Biochemistry molecular biology major, religion minor

Ph.D. candidate, microbiology/immunology, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, Ark.

Current projects

I currently study the obligate intracellular bacterium Coxiella burnetii, the etiologic agent of Q fever, a flu-like illness that sometimes progresses to endocarditis in immune-compromised individuals. I investigate interactions between C. burnetii and host cell signaling pathways.

Undergraduate Research

I worked in Dr. Goodwin's laboratory on the development of green organic chemistry experiments and characterizing compounds found in male elephant urine that may be means of chemical communication between elephants.

How Hendrix prepared me for success

Hendrix prepared me very well for the academic rigor of graduate school, but my time there also taught me how to problem solve, use my time efficiently, and be a well-rounded person. I'm very grateful for those skills now because, as a graduate student, I have to juggle many different responsibilities and still fund time to enjoy myself.

Future plans

My goal is to become a faculty member at an undergraduate institution like Hendrix. I believe science depends on the ability to today's scientists to communicate and translate scientific literature to students in a way that is accessible. I appreciate Hendrix because the professors made science interesting, and I think I can convey that same enthusiasm.

My advice

It's really easy to be overwhelmed by the sheer amount of work and focus that is required for graduate school or a job ... Don't stop doing the things you loved at Hendrix, and try new things. I was a cross country and track athlete at Hendrix, and I ran two marathons last year, raising $3,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.