Please tell us where you are from and a bit about what you were doing prior to coming to ETSU:
I was born in Louisville, Kentucky and later moved to Bristol, Virginia after my father finished seminary. I grew up there and then moved to Johnson City 2 years ago to finish my chemistry degree. After graduating last May, I left my position of 4 years as a full time sales associate at Home Depot and accepted a teaching assistantship with the Biology department here at ETSU.
Please tell us a little bit about the research you are conducting for your Master's thesis project:
The goal of my research will be to isolate and crystallize a mutagenic form of a glucosyltransferase enzyme found in grapefruits. This enzyme is responsible for adding sugar groups to flavonoids, which supposedly give grapefruits many of their purported health benefits.
What made you choose the Master's in Biology program at ETSU?
The Master’s in Biology program has a number of concentrations which will allow me to use my chemistry background without narrowing my career options to industry or academia. I chose Biomedical Sciences as my concentration due to an enduring fascination with the multitude of molecular processes that allow the human body to function as it does.
What has your experience at ETSU been like thus far and what do you expect from this experience looking forward?
My experience thus far has been extremely rewarding. I am more intellectually stimulated than I have ever been in my life and I am thoroughly enjoying the challenges placed before me. There is exceptional camaraderie within the biology department and I feel as though I’ve found a family that is both supportive and congenial. I anticipate many more rewarding experiences to come as I progress through my degree. I hope to expand my knowledge and develop the skills necessary to be a successful researcher and biologist.