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Meet Emily Wade: An Undergraduate at Northwest Nazarene University

Please Introduce Yourself!

My name is Emily Wade, and I am a junior (third-year) chemistry major with a biochemistry emphasis and pre-medical focus. My school does not offer a chemistry pre-medical track, so I chose to take biology courses as electives in order to satisfy my medical school requirements. I am attending Northwest Nazarene University located in Nampa, Idaho.

Why did you choose to join a research lab and what has the research, benchwork, or specific techniques taught you about a career in science? 

In high school, I had the amazing opportunity to participate in the ACS Project SEED program for two summers, which greatly motivated me and set me up for success for research at the undergraduate level and beyond. This research prior to my undergraduate education allowed me to conduct research as a freshman (first-year) at my university, which is highly unusual.

I personally find that research is the tangible application of the concepts you learn from your textbook and lecture. It pays off as you study a niche-specific area to solve a world problem and create more resources for others to have access to. Not only have I learned hard skills such as project management, data analysis, and equipment use, but also important scientific communication skills and other soft skills such as teamwork, public speaking, leadership, and independent responsibility.

What have you learned from working in a lab and how has your role contributed to the field of research?

Working in a lab has taught me independence and self-sufficiency in finding answers to questions I may have, conducting my own experiments, and a variety of ways to analyze and check data and results. The scientific reasoning skills I have obtained over the years have set me up for success in lecture, course labs, and managing my time with experiments and project work to meet deadlines and goals.

My work with ACS Project SEED from my first summer has been published, and I am currently working on two more publications with my current lab at NNU. This work will go to further the biomedical field with information on chemotherapeutics (ACS Project SEED) and antibacterial properties of ZnO nanoparticles (NNU).

What are your career goals and how has your research experience helped with this?

I am planning on attending medical school after I graduate with a BS in Chemistry from NNU. My research experience provided me with many skills that have set me up for success in medical school and beyond, as I hope to be a physician one day. These skills include but aren’t limited to: creating a manuscript for publication, conducting complex experiments/trials, collaborating with different departments on the same project, leadership skills, public speaking, and applying conceptual information to tangible projects and tests.

What is the most exciting aspect of the lab you are in? What is the future application of this?  What is something that a non-scientist would find interesting/should know about?

The most exciting aspect of the lab that I work in is that there are multiple projects occurring at once that collaborate with different departments. The future application of the research in my lab is to further the foundation of information on ZnO (zinc oxide) nanoparticles synthesized with different components to enhance antibacterial and bactericidal properties. Many non-scientists are familiar with the use of ZnO in sunscreen, on medical instruments, and in topical medications. While my lab is not pursuing a patent or looking to enter industry, the basis of what we do is to help further the amount of information on these types of nanoparticles to help the community find better ways to enhance its applications.

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