Hey There, Future Toxicologist Here

It’s been a while since my last post because I found out that I start in the Eubig Lab at UIUC on June 1st (yay!!!), so I’ve been really busy lately getting ready to move

Dr. Eubig was a veterinarian/toxicologist long before he earned his Ph.D. in neuroscience, and he generally focuses on studying the effects of toxicants on thyroid hormone (TH), but he also dabbles in circadian rhythm research through his collaboration with the Mahoney Lab at UIUC, and he’s in discussions with other UIUC faculty members about beginning other collaborations.  The two big projects he has going on in his lab right now are (these will be very general descriptions), 1) studying shift-work and circadian rhythms in a rodent model, and 2) seeing how offspring of mothers with subtly low TH perform in the 5-choice task (in this paradigm, rats have to choose the correct option out of the five that they’re provided in order to get a food reward).

Now you may have noticed that there have been a lot of articles and discussion lately about chemicals and toxins/toxicants: people (including many scientists) attacking Food Babe, Dr. Oz, and others like them, and the articles and discussion that have followed.  It’s gotten pretty heated–especially on social media.  I’ve seen people get into heated arguments over the consumption or ingestion of chemicals via food, vaccinations (why won’t this one die?), etc., on Facebook because one person shared an article saying one thing, and one of their Facebook friends disagreed with their stance on the issue.  I tend to agree with one side of these arguments (the one with more scientific evidence), but I try not to get involved.  However, I’ve been following these articles and discussions very closely because I’ll soon dive into the world of toxicology, and I’d like to know what sorts of things people say or think so I can find ways to address their fears using science in ways they can understand.

This article does that really well, in my opinion: The 4 Most Common Food Toxins

I really like it because the writer isn’t a scientist, but she consulted scientific research and a scientist to address her average-non-scientist-person’s concerns before she made any decisions.

I wish everyone would do that.

Anyway, a couple of my favorite science bloggers who do a really great job of making science more accessible to the general public are SciBabe and Mommy, PhD (who’s actually the scientist who was consulted for the aforementioned article!), so I recommend that you check them out if you haven’t already.  I also recommend that you check out The Scientific Mom if you have kids, sometimes babysit kids, or just know some little ones who you’d love to introduce to science.  She posts really cool science projects that are completely kid friendly and a lot of fun, like her Goblin Eggs experiment!


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April 9, 2015

I knew last week was going to be crazy before it began, but I had no clue just how crazy it was going to be.

The week started out normal enough.  Classes Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday; lab time (which was cancelled because of scheduling issues) planned for Wednesday and Thursday; and I planned to attend my sorority’s chapter meeting Thursday night, for the President, Taylor, had asked me to give the “Decoding the Professional Dress Code” presentation that I created for a recruitment event a couple of years ago.  Everything was business-as-usual, until the meeting Thursday night.

My sorority sisters and I were in our usual meeting room on the third floor of the student center.  We were about 30 minutes into the meeting when an automated voice began saying, “Tornado warning. Take cover immediately,” over and over again.  We quickly gathered our things and headed for the stairs, assuming that we were supposed to head towards the Commuter Student Lounge in the basement of the student center.  As we descended, we merged with the crowd, and we ended up going through the lounge and into the Huskies Den, also in the basement of the student center.  It took about half an hour for all of us to get there, and the alarm was going off the entire time.  For the most part, we weren’t too concerned because the radar showed that it was west of us, and its path seemed to be going northeast, so it didn’t look like it was going to hit us.  However, our sole meteorology major, Lauren, was, of course, keeping a close eye on what was going on and keeping all of us updated.  The warning was originally in effect from the time it went off (around 6:30 p.m.) to 7 p.m., but it kept getting updated and pushed back, so I helped Taylor figure out the best plan for the night and the remaining meetings for the semester.  We postponed my presentation, and around 7 p.m., we left the Huskies Den and found an empty computer lab in the basement to quickly finish the meeting.  My phone was keeping me updated via its internet connection, but I wasn’t receiving any calls or texts because I do not get reception in the basement of the student center.  However, I was sitting next to Lauren, so she was keeping me updated too.  Now, all of my sisters know that I’m from Rochelle, Illinois because I helped them find a Day Away location there a couple of years ago, and now they use it as their back-up option in case their first-choice location falls through (which keeps happening).  Someone sent Lauren a picture of a TV screen showing the Weather Channel towards the end of the meeting, and the Weather Channel was following this storm very closely because a huge tornado had touched down.  This particular photo of the Weather Channel showed the tornado crossing an interstate, and in the top left corner, it said the location was Rochelle, IL.  Lauren immediately showed it to me.  At first, I didn’t see the location, but she made sure that I did before she showed it to anyone else.

Weather Channel footage of the April 9, 2015 tornado near Rochelle, Illinois

The picture Lauren showed me during the meeting. Here the tornado crossing I-39 just northwest of my house.

It’s in Rochelle, and it’s heading northeast.  My house is northeast of Rochelle.

Another sister, Sophia, caught me as I was leaving the meeting to make sure that I was okay because she’d seen my face when Lauren showed me the picture.

As soon as I had reception, I texted my old friend Mary.  She now lives in Madison, Wisconsin, but most of her family still lives in or near Rochelle.  When we were very young, a tornado went through her family’s backyard and, luckily, only destroyed a barn.

Also when I was a child, my brother received physical therapy in Rockford to make sure that he was growing and developing correctly after being born three months premature.  I very clearly remember one time when my mom was driving the two of us back home after one of my brother’s physical therapy sessions.  As we were driving along the interstate (the very one that last week’s tornado crossed), the sky turned green, a very ugly pea-green, and dark grey, almost black, clouds dotted the sky.  My mom told me to watch for funnel clouds and tell her if I saw any.  As soon as we got home that day, we rushed to the basement.

After I left the meeting, I found Matt, and we drove to his apartment.  I wanted to wait until we were safely indoors again and my phone had reception again before I tried to contact my family.  As soon as we got there, around 7:40 p.m. (the warning was still in effect for 5 more minutes), and just before I went to call her, I got a text from my mom.  I was so relieved to hear from her.

Me: Yep. We got ushered to the basement in the student center. We’re okay here; Matt and I are at his apartment now. Everything okay there?
Mom: Good. Jaime and Ryan (friends of ours) lost their house. VanVickle and Valentine too.
Me: That’s so sad. What about Joy and Jake (also friends of ours who live two houses over from Jaime and Ryan)? Are they okay?
Mom: We are fine. Glad you guys are too. Ethan (my brother) and I watched it. [Joy and Jake] are okay, it just touched their house.

She also sent me some pictures and videos she and Ethan took.

The EF-4 tornado in Rochelle, Illinois as seen from Creston, Illinois on April 9, 2015

The view of the tornado from my house. Photo credit: Ethan

The earlier stages of the EF-4 tornado that ripped through Rochelle and Fairdale. Photo credit: Mom

The earlier stages of the EF-4 tornado that ripped through Rochelle and Fairdale. Photo credit: Mom


At this point, the tornado was either approaching or in the process of demolishing Grubsteakers, a restaurant at the corner of Route 64 and Route 251 just north of Rochelle.

At this point, the tornado was either approaching or in the process of demolishing Grubsteakers, a restaurant at the corner of Route 64 and Route 251 just north of Rochelle.

tornado5 tornado6 tornado3 tornado2

Later, I found out that the tornado destroyed most of the subdivision where Joy and Jake, Jaime and Ryan, the VanVickles (Ogle County Sheriff is Brian VanVickle), and the Valentines all lived, a restaurant north of Rochelle, and a tiny unincorporated town called Fairdale just south of Rockford.  I’ve also heard that multiple tornadoes actually touched down and did all of this damage, but I haven’t found any confirmation of that.  I do know that meteorologists have said that the giant wedge tornado (apparently a type that rarely forms in Illinois) that hit Rochelle and Fairdale was an EF-4.  EF-5 is the strongest.  They’ve reported that it was half a mile wide with winds 180-200 miles per hour, and traveled 15-20 miles on the ground.  It killed two and injured many others in Fairdale.

If you’d like to help those affected by the tornado that ripped through Rochelle and Fairdale on April 9th, 2015, there are many ways you can do so.

You can volunteer.

You can donate items.  See the links below for information about what items they will accept and where you should take them:

  • Transportation Warehouses Enterprises, Inc. in Elk Grove Village, IL is set up to accept donations.  See the link for a list of items they are taking and when you can drop them off.
  • The Kirkland Fire Department is also accepting donations.  See the link for a list of what you can donate and when you can drop it off.  The link also provides information about donating money and other locations and organizations that are accepting donations.
  • The West Chicago Fire Protection District is accepting donations 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. every day through April 18th at Fire Station 6, 200 Fremont St.  For a list of what items they will accept, click here.

You can also donate money:

  • The Northern Illinois Food Bank is accepting donations to help provide food to the families affected by the tornado.
  • The Salvation Army is accepting monetary donations to help those affected by the tornado.
  • The Haedt family are friends of my family.  My mom used to babysit the older children, Cohen and Leni, before little Joey was born last fall, and Jaime changed her work schedule so she could stay at home with the kids more.  They were home when the tornado hit.  It destroyed their house, but the entire family survived.  One of Jaime’s former Illinois State University gymnastics teammates started a GoFundMe to help them rebuild their lives.
  • The Village of Kirkland also set up a GoFundMe to help the residents Fairdale, the tiny town that the tornado demolished.
  • The Red Cross is also accepting monetary donations to help those affected by the tornado
  • In addition to accepting volunteer help, the Summerfield Zoo is also taking monetary donations to help them rebuild and care for the animals after the tornado.
  • Ollie’s Frozen Custard of Sycamore, IL is donating 10% of all sales on Saturday, April 11th and Sunday, April 12th to the Fairdale and Rochelle Tornado Relief Fund.  Their mix supplier will also be donating based on the store’s total sales this weekend, and Ollie’s will also take monetary donations to add to their donation.
  • A survivor of the Washington, IL tornado that struck in 2012 started a YouCaring page for people to donate to help the people of Fairdale.
  • Illinois Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger set up Illinois Gives, a site where employees of the state of Illinois and retirees can make donations.
  • Lutheran Church Charities has also set up a disaster relief fund website where you can specify where you’d like the donation to go.
  • Illinois Tornado Relief Effort

You can also like and follow the Fairdale, IL Tornado Recovery Facebook page to receive updates about the efforts and updates on how you can help.  Also, please like and follow the DeKalb and Surrounding Areas Tornadoes Lost and Found Pets-NDARRT Facebook page to help local pets who were separated from their families during the tornado.

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Scientists are People Too

The first time I heard about “Food Babe” was two days ago when a sorority sister shared the Gawker article by the blogger Science Babe, “The ‘Food Babe’ Blogger is Full of Shit.”  When I read it, I vaguely recalled an attack on the ingredients of Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes that I’d heard about, but I’d never heard about the attack on Subway, or even of “Food Babe” or realized that she was the person behind those attacks.  As I began to read the article, I was skeptical of everything which is something science has taught me: be skeptical of everything, and question everything.  But as I read on, I found words and phrases that made me question “Food Babe” more than the writer of this article.  I clicked on the article because I was curious; I kept reading because Science Babe wrote an article attacking pseudoscience (my favorite type of article) with humor that you don’t often find in those types of articles.  Most of those articles tend to be more on the serious side, giving you the feeling that if something isn’t done about these pseudoscience claims, the situation will soon become dire, but not this one.

Since I first read the Gawker article when it was published two days ago, there seems to have been an explosion of other articles and blog posts (including this one on Vox, this one on BostInno, and this one from Elle–yes, the fashion magazine) discussing Science Babe’s article and also calling out “Food Babe.”

Food Babe says, "If a third-grader can't pronounce it, don't eat it." Science Babe says, "Don't base your diet on the pronunciation skills of an eight-year-old."

This is one of my favorite things to come from publicity of the Gawker article. I definitely agree with this point. Just because it’s a scary word you can’t pronounce doesn’t mean that it’s an evil, toxic substance.

I was hesitant to check out “Food Babe” for myself because, as my sorority big sis pointed out, even negative attention is attention “Food Babe” doesn’t deserve, but my curiosity got the better of me, and I found her blog/website.  The first thing I noticed about her website were all of the ads (SO MANY ADS), which made me even more skeptical of her because in my experience, websites that are covered in ads like that are the kind you should avoid, unless you’d like to murder your computer.  My first goal was to find out what makes her qualified to make all of these claims, so I checked out her About section on her blog…nothing.  Her About section is more than half pictures of her with famous people preceeded by a list of “victories” over “evil corporations” that aim to destroy the health of the entire world like Chick-fil-A, Chipotle, Kraft, Starbucks, Subway, and Panera Bread; a video showing her before and after “The Food Babe Way;” and a brief bio discussing what led her to starting her blog, what she posts, and how she’s written books (blah, blah, blah).  I couldn’t find anything else on her website that helped me, so I tried her Facebook page to see if she’d put anything helpful on there…nothing.  Except for this award that made me even more skeptical: “2014 Voted Dr. Oz’s Healthiest Facebook Page.”  I checked out the rest of her social media sites, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and Twitter, determined to find the information I was looking for from her.  Her Instagram account was useless, but she did have a cute picture of a plush bunny with some sort of carrot that looked like it was made out of frosting (doubtful, but that would be funny!).  Her Pinterest and YouTube accounts were also unhelpful, but her YouTube did lead me to her Google+.  Unfortunately that was also unhelpful, as was her Twitter account, so I took to Google to see what I could find.  I didn’t find anything directly from her, instead I found another critical article about her on Science Based Medicine that says she earned her undergraduate degree in computer science, something that was also mentioned in an article praising her on Creative Loafing, and the Wikipedia page dedicated to her.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m great friends with some computer scientists, but compared to health professionals and scientists, they know nothing about the sort of thing this “Food Babe” claims that she knows.  I will be trusting my life and future family’s life to health professionals and the science that backs them up.  My children will be vaccinated unless they cannot be vaccinated for health reasons, in which case, I will make damn sure that anyone who wants to spend time with them is vaccinated (unless they also cannot be vaccinated).  I was an extremely picky eater as a child, for example, I would only eat the vibrant yellow-orange Kraft macaroni and cheese, and I wouldn’t touch anything with lettuce in or on it.  As a 23-year-old, I have ventured outside of my childhood comfort zone with food, and now I’ll at least try most things.  I discovered that it wasn’t ALL lettuce that I hated, just iceburg, and now I eat romaine salads with feta cheese, tomatoes, and vinaigrette (yum, acetic acid!), and I’ve also tried and liked kale and arugula–I just haven’t incorporated them into my regular diet yet.  I stopped regularly eating Easy Mac when I stopped living in dorms–now I only eat it occasionally, when there isn’t anything else in the house that I can take with me to class or work for my lunch or dinner break.  I still avoid onions (except scallions) and fresh peppers (I like roasted red peppers) like the plague because their taste is too strong for me, and something about their textures is off-putting to me.  However, I will introduce my children to all sorts of foods, including ones that I don’t like, and give them healthy options.

Since I read the Gawker article, I have liked Science Babe on Facebook, and she has shared additional links such as this one from Genetic Literacy Project that has videos showing one of the contributing authors at a “Food Babe” promotional appearance asking questions and trying to engage in friendly dialogue, but “Food Babe” won’t have any of that.  This particular article also led me to the Scientists are People movement, part of the inspiration for this post.  This movement encourages scientists to share mundane and fascinating everyday information about themselves to show and remind others that scientists aren’t big, scary people out to destroy the world (that would be an evil scientist).

I do work in a lab with rats where we study animal models of stroke and Alzheimer’s disease, focusing on the memory and spatial navigation parts of these problems, and I will continue to work in a lab with even more rats during my Ph.D. training.  Yes, we induce a “stroke” or Alzheimer’s, and the animals are sacrificed so we can examine their brains and sometimes other parts of their bodies.

But I am not a monster who enjoys torturing animals.

I am an animal-lover.  I have had all sorts of pets my entire life: fish, rabbits, cats, dogs, chickens, and goats.  I adore horses, and someday I will have an Appaloosa.  I love the rats that I work with, and I care for them and do everything I can to make sure that I treat them humanely and lovingly.

I live outside of a small town with my parents, brother, 2 cats, 75 chickens, and 2 goats.

I love spending time with my sorority sisters.

I enjoy taking walks, dancing, swimming, ice skating, and horseback riding.

My boyfriend teases that I’d make a great 1950s housewife because I’ve been doing a lot of online shopping lately to prepare for my big move.

I love being crafty and creating gifts for family and friends.

I used to be artsy.  In high school, I played the flute (I was awful), sang in choir, danced, and did color guard.  I recently started taking piano lessons because I always wanted to learn.

I like learning new languages.  I took 3 years of Spanish in high school and 1 year in college, and now I’m learning French too!

I learned to create webpages using HTML and Dreamweaver in school when I was 13…now I’m learning how to do both again at 23.

I have always dreamed of visiting Paris and Brazil.

My only adventure out of the country was a 21-day student ambassador trip to Australia when I was 15.

I am petrified of public speaking, but apparently I’m actually pretty good at it.

My guilty pleasure TV shows are “Say Yes to the Dress” (my big and I have abbreviated it to “SYTTD”) and “Pretty Little Liars.”

There isn’t anything quite like a “SYTTD”/craft/wine night with my big and our cats.

My favorite dessert is frozen custard, and I have a “usual” at each of my favorite custard places: plain lemon at Jarling’s Custard Cup in Champaign and Danville, chocolate custard with peanut butter topping at Ollie’s in Sycamore, and vanilla with peanut butter sauce and hot fudge at any Culver’s.

My all-time favorite TV show is Gilmore Girls.

I’m just a regular person who happens to also love science. #ScientistsArePeople

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I ♥ NIU: Give

Today is the final day of “I ♥ NIU Week 2015,” and the Alumni Association is aiming to raise $50,000 for the university in 24 hours.  As a still broke and in-debt alumna, I’m unable to contribute to the $50,000 goal, which is why I’ve been showing my support by blogging and sharing on Facebook and Twitter every day this week (which got me a free “I ♥ NIU t-shirt–yay for free things!!!).  For anyone who can donate, I encourage you to do so.  When you click this link, you can donate any amount to NIU, AND you get to specify where you’d like the money to be directed!  If I could afford to donate (which won’t be for a very, very, very long time), I would want my donations to go towards supporting the Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning, the Biology department, and the Psychology department.

I was a student in both Biology and Psychology, and both buildings need some serious help.  The main elevator in Montgomery (Biology) always seems to be broken, and the systems responsible for regulating and maintaining the temperature and humidity of both buildings have some major issues.  The temperature and humidity systems are especially critical systems to fix and maintain because both buildings house laboratory animals, and besides the fact that changes in the environment could affect animals’ performance in experiments and therefore influence results, there are also federal regulations in place to make sure that laboratory animals are well-cared for.  If the environments are not in compliance with these regulations, the university could be in some serious trouble.

The Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning (OSEEL) is a wonderful office on campus that gives students various opportunities.  OSEEL is the office responsible for programs such as Research Rookies that gets students involved in research as early as their freshman and sophomore years; and SROP, among others.  They also provide assistance to students interested in presenting their research at conferences off campus such as the AAAS Annual Meeting, and the Society for Neuroscience (SfN) Conference.

Maybe someday I will be able to afford a donation to NIU, but until then, thanks for the memories, opportunities, and relationships, NIU!  Without my experiences at NIU, I wouldn’t be heading to graduate school this fall.

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I ♥ NIU: Do

I probably won’t be sharing any acts of kindness that I happen to do today because I most likely won’t even think about it, so I’ll share some acts of kindness from when I was at NIU.

Taylor's purple shirt with lime green letters on the front and "21 and counting" in lime green on the back to symbolize her battle and survival story from fighting Hodgkin's Lymphoma

Alpha Omega Epsilon participates in Relay for Life at NIU every year.  These days, most people know someone who fought cancer, and they participate in Relay for Life events in honor of them, but for the Mu Chapter of AΩE, Relay for Life is particularly special because one of our own was diagnosed with cancer shortly after she joined.  Taylor had just turned 19 when she was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, and she had already supported her mom during her battle with cancer.  Taylor was forced to take a semester of medical leave from school and then continue chemotherapy treatments when she came back, but she’s one of the luckier ones.  She was declared cancer-free nearly two years ago, and she still is today.  For last year’s Relay for Life, the members of the chapter decided to honor Taylor’s fight and one-year anniversary of being declared cancer-free.  We bought her a purple t-shirt (symbolizing that she survived cancer) with our letters in lime green (symbolizing that she fought Hodgkin’s lymphoma) on the front and “21 and counting,” also in lime green.

My long hair before cutting it all off, and my short hair after

Last May, I cut off about 12 inches of hair and donated it to Pantene Beautiful Lengths!

Schrodinger napping

Sleepy Schrodinger

Gibbs sprawled out on a pillow

Sleepy Gibbs

In August, my family took in two kittens that we found alone in a field near our house one rainy day.  Now Schrodinger and Gibbs share kindness daily with the kids my mom babysits…well, mostly Schrodinger.  Gibbs usually just sleeps.  Schrodinger is the one who likes to cuddle.

Shrodinger and S

Lil’ buddies

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I ♥ NIU: Remember

Here are some of my favorite NIU memories:

Memories of AΩE Day Away Spring 2013: getting my first little, baby gifts for our alumnae advisor and her future baby, shopping for Day Away with my big, and spending time with my sisters

Memories of AΩE Day Away Spring 2013: getting my first little, baby gifts for our alumnae advisor and her future baby, shopping for Day Away with my big, and spending time with my sisters

Memories of AΩE Spring 2014: Relay for Life, Mu Chapter's 10 Anniversary, initiating 7 candidates, Day Away, going to see Divergent with my sisters

Memories of AΩE Spring 2014: Relay for Life, Mu Chapter’s 10 Anniversary, initiating 7 candidates, Day Away, going to see Divergent with my sisters

Memories of SROP 2014: touring Kishwaukee Community Hospital, going to the White Sox game with President Baker, dinner at the President's house, dinner at Dr. Spears's house, visiting Fermilab, exploring Chicago, and spending a weekend at NIU's Lorado Taft field campus

Memories of SROP 2014: touring Kishwaukee Community Hospital, going to the White Sox game with President Baker, dinner at the President’s house, dinner at Dr. Spears’s house, visiting Fermilab, exploring Chicago, and spending a weekend at NIU’s Lorado Taft field campus

Memories of Fall 2014: getting my last little, my last Day Away, getting together with my boyfriend, bonding with my sisters, mentoring new students in the lab during the Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference, and graduating

Memories of Fall 2014: getting my last little, my last Day Away, getting together with my boyfriend, bonding with my sisters, mentoring new students in the lab during the Psychology Undergraduate Research Conference, and graduating

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I ♥ NIU: Tell

I’ve had many wonderful experiences during my time at NIU (Fall 2011 – Fall 2014), and some of the people I’ve met during my time at NIU have played major roles in making my NIU experience what it was.

Courtney and me

Courtney (NIU alumna) is one of my sisters, and my life certainly wouldn’t be the same without her.  She was my Membership Educator when I was a Candidate, so she was the first sister that I bonded with.  In the following years, we planned Recruitment events together, managed the sorority as a fantastic President-VP team, and bonded even more while we were RAs at University Plaza.  She was by my side supporting me as my Vice President, and I couldn’t have asked for a better or more dedicated VP.  She reviewed and edited my SROP application essay and always cheered me on.  She texted and called me several times when I was an RA on duty for the first time to check in and make sure I was doing okay.  We had adventures.  Now she lives in Maryland with her family and dalmatian, Phillip Rivers, and I’m preparing to move to Champaign, but every time we talk or manage to get together, it’s as if no time has passed at all.

Becca and me with frozen custardBecca (NIU alumna)is my sorority big sister who I really bonded with while she was President during my first year as an active.  Courtney was also VP while Becca was President, but she had a pretty crazy schedule at the time, and because I had more free time and always volunteered to help, I became Becca’s other VP.  Our big-little bond has since flourished, and she’s like the big sister I never had.  From “WHERE ARE YOU COME HERE NOW” texts to trading clothes, from skating and Chicago adventures to finding the best frozen custard in any given area and binge-watching “Say Yes to the Dress,” this is true sisterhood.

Me and Lesley at the 2014 Outstanding Women AwardsDr. Lesley Rigg (VP of Research and Innovative Partnerships) has been the AΩE Mu Chapter’s Faculty Advisor since Fall 2012, and she has been an incredible role model and mentor for all of the members.  She’s been a fabulous resource for all things women in science-related, and has helped and supported the chapter in every way she could.  There’s been more than one member that has said they want to be her when they grow up!

Dr. Bethia King (Professor of Biology) introduced me to the world of research as my first research mentor.  I first met her when I took Biodiversity at NIU and missed the first class because it wasn’t originally in my schedule.  Later the following semester when I emailed three faculty members asking about joining their labs, she was the only faculty member I contacted that responded.  She gave me a chance and taught me the basics of research, and she nominated me for a 2014 Outstanding Woman Student Award.  Without her mentoring, I wouldn’t have become interested in research, and I wouldn’t be as successful as I have been in my science pursuits.

Dr. Doug Wallace (Associate Professor of Psychology) has been an incredible mentor.  I first met Doug the summer before I started working in his lab, and by midterms of my first semester working in his lab, he saw my potential and encouraged me to look into summer research programs on campus for Summer 2014 because he had a project in mind.  He has always been supportive and eager to help me with personal statements, applications, and choosing programs, and I wouldn’t have become interested in neuroscience without his guidance.

Dr. Leslie Matuszewich (Associate Professor of Psychology, Associate Dean of Research and Graduate Studies) has also been a wonderful mentor and role model.  I had a class with her every semester that I was in the psychology program, and she has been a great and inspirational teacher.

Dr. Angela Grippo (Associate Professor of Psychology) has also been a great role model.  I only had one class with her, but the work that comes out of her lab is cutting-edge, and she won the APA Distinguished Early Career Scientific Contribution Award in 2012.  She probably doesn’t know it since I haven’t worked with her very much, but she is certainly an inspiration to me in more ways than one.

These are some of the people from NIU who have played larger roles in my life during my time at NIU, and I am certain that I will become a combination of these professors and others who will come to play larger roles in my life during graduate school.

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