Senior Scientist, Proteomics Core Laboratories, Washington University in St. Louis, St. Louis, Mo.
"The problem-solving skills that I developed as a result of performing undergraduate research continue to be useful."
As a staff member of a core laboratory, I collaborate on a variety of research projects with investigators in various departments at the Washington University School of Medicine. I interpret peptide mass spectrometry data and do a significant amount of work directed toward identifying protein chemical and post-translational modifications. Much of this work is related to cancer and other diseases. We also study changes in protein expression levels between normal and disease states, for example.
Two organic synthesis projects with Dr. Tom Goodwin, junior and senior academic years. I also participated in a summer undergraduate research program at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville.
How Hendrix prepared me for success
The problem-solving skills that I developed as a result of performing undergraduate research continue to be useful. Lab classes are very valuable in enforcing concepts learned in the lecture portion of a particular course, but lab experiments are chosen because they work if you do everything correctly. Research isn't always that way. I learned a lot about organic chemistry (and chemistry in general) by tweaking reactions to make them work better.
If you have the opportunity to participate in a research project, do so — even if it's not in an area that you think is of interest. More than anything else, I have learned that the skills you learn will translate to your chosen profession in unexpected ways.