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Student Stories
Jennifer Keefer placing a pin in a global map with an international student identifying where he is from

The Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology embraces diversity and inclusion in our classrooms, research laboratories, and hallways. The diverse backgrounds of our students and faculty provide unique perspectives and enhance the learning experience for all. This makes Penn State and BMB a great place to study.   Learn something new about BMB and our students – both past and present – through their shared thoughts and stories.

Read Our Student's Stories

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Meet Alexis Davison, 2019 - 20 Beckman Scholar

"It is an honor to have been selected to be a Beckman Scholar and become a member of such an organization where the promotion of discovery for the benefit of humanity remains at its core."  

Read More From Alexis

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Meet Taylor Yount, 2019 - 20 Beckman Scholar

"The Beckman community has inspired me to push the boundaries of science and innovation, and I am incredibly proud and excited to be a part of it."

Read More From Taylor

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Elizabeth McFadden, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Major, Class of 2020

"The phage discovery course opened my eyes to the world of research and gave me an opportunity to explore and develop my ideas in a way that most undergraduate students never get."

Image of Hailee Wingard working with students from the Science-U Summer Camp


Hailee Wingard, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Major, Class of 2021

"Growing up just outside of State College, I was an avid goer of the Science-U Program.  This year I was able to give back by working as a mentor and lab coordinator at Science-U.   It really came full circle for me and is a great way to get young kids interested in the world of science."

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Mollie Sweeney, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Major, Class of 2018

"By being an LA, you get the unique opportunity to work with professors, your peer LA's, and your peers who are taking the class. Working with professors and other LA's on developing and implementing active learning exercises in the classroom was an invaluable teaching experience, and gave me a lot of insight into what it's like to teach effectively. It's not all teaching recitations either - I got to facilitate experimental demonstrations in class and even ran a Twitter page for one of my courses. Best of all, LAing for fundamental classes such as basic cell and molecular biology or introductory chemistry gives you an opportunity to re-teach yourself the most important concepts that form the basis of upper-level coursework. Ultimately you end up learning a lot about your own learning style in the process of gaining teaching skills."

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Emily Snell, Microbiology Major, Class of 2019

“Being among the top 50 research universities, I knew that I could pursue my interests in biochemistry while being among world-class faculty.”

Read More About Emily's Research

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Stephanie Poly, Class of 2020


Read More About Stephanie's Research

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Jarrett Venezia, Microbiology Major, Class of 2016

Research completely changed my post-college plans."

Read More About Jarrett's Research

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Meet Bryce Katch, a Junior from Lititz, Pennsylvania, majoring in both Biochemistry and Molecular Biology as well as Chemical Engineering.  Bryce's love of science has led him to participate in both the American Chemical Society's U.S. National Chemistry Olympiad and National Academics Quiz Tournaments.  Currently, Bryce is an undergraduate researcher in the Boal Laboratory and studies enzymes that use iron and oxygen to assist in their chemical reactions.

Outside of the laboratory and his academic coursework, Bryce is very involved in music at Penn State and is a member of the Penn State Blue Band, the Saxophone Studio and Penn State's Campus Orchestra

Read more about Bryce

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Meet Emma Stockham, a Sophomore from Stafford, Virginia, majoring in Microbiology.  Emma's interest and love for science was influenced by her late father, Rex Stockham, who proudly served his country as a Special Agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigation.  Emma is an undergraduate researcher  in the Bull and Hocket Laboratory, where she is working to isolate and purify bacteriophage specifically used to control plant and mushroom diseases.

Outside of the laboratory, Emma is fascinated with the nonfiction literary, podcast, and film genre, True crime, and also enjoys spending her time both hiking and running.

Read more about Emma

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Meet Hannah Flamini, a Senior majoring in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, and minoring in Psychology.  Hannah has not shied away from any of the opportunities available to her throughout her undergraduate career.  She has served as a Learning Assistant for 4 semesters in Chemistry 110 and volunteered in UPMC Pinnacle's Interventional Radiology Department.

Outside of the Classroom, Hannah plays the saxophone as a member of the Penn State Blue Band, serves as the Secretary of the Biochemistry Society, and is an active member of Alpha Epsilon Delta, Penn State's Pre-Health Honors Society.

Read more about Hannah

Image of Tatiana McAnulty

Meet Tatiana McAnulty, a rising senior whose goal is to combine her desire to help patients with her background in research to some day contribute to the fight against cancer and improve the lives of patients and their families.  As a member of the Keiler Laboratory, she focuses on the use of natural products, obtained from the University of Hawaii and extracted from fungi and marine plant life, as a potential source of antimicrobial and chemotherapeutic agents.

Outside of the laboratory and classroom, Tatiana enjoys spending her time volunteering and pursuing her love of dance.

Read more about Tatiana

Image of Haley MacDonald posing in front of the Penn State Lion Shrine

Meet Haley MacDonald, a rising Senior taking her undergraduate career by storm!  As a member of the Thomas Laboratory, she is focused on inserting of a construct into the ꞵHeavy spectrin gene, utilizing CRISPR/Cas9 technology.  She also serves as a Learning Assistant, and is a Certified EMT.  Outside of the classroom and laboratory, Haley spends her time pursuing her interests in music, linguistics, and community outreach. 

Read more about Haley


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BMB Features Cassidy Prince

Meet Cassidy, a rising Senior making the most of every opportunity at Penn State.  As a member of the Kovac Lab she's traveled to Ethiopia and instructed scientists on microbiology techniques. She's traveled to Panama with Global Brigades and worked alongside doctors to provide additional medical assistance and recommendations to community members, and she's been a member of the Blue Band since her Freshman Year.

After graduating she plans to pursue her Ph.D. and hopes to spend her life teaching and conducting research.

Read more about Cassidy

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BMB Features: Xueer (Will) Han

“When my science teacher told me about Yuan Longping, I was fascinated by the power of biology.  Through the power of biology, a hybrid rice was able to be developed, and millions of people were saved.”

Read more about Will

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BMB Features: Rahul Mehta

When Rahul is not in the classroom you can find him volunteering with the on-campus organization Lifelink PSU.  

“Having spent my first two years of college at a Brandywine Campus, close to home, I loved volunteering, it gave me something to do, and more importantly, it gave me a way to help my community.  The pre-dental club had reserved slots so club members could go and volunteer, so I went and absolutely loved the experience."

Read more about Rahul

Joaquim Diego Santos sitting on the Great Wall of China

BMB Features Joaquim Diego Santos

“Studying Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Penn State has been central in my development as a future healthcare provider and will propel me toward my aspiration in becoming a surgeon.” 

Read more about Diego


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BMB Features Basel Karim

Outside of the classroom and laboratory, Basel is dedicated to making a difference within the local community through the selfless act of service.  “For me, volunteering is very important since my mom works in the medical field,” says Basel. “She has influenced me to be kind and caring to those who cannot care for themselves.”  

Read more about Basel

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BMB Features Rachel Swope

Rachel has been named a 2020 Barry Goldwater Scholar, and is also the recipient of both an Erickson Discovery Grant, as well as, the Ronald Venezie Scholarship in Science for Honors Education in 2019.

Read more about Rachel

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BMB Features Rachel Bruning

“Penn State has offered me the chance to take courses I am passionate about in both the sciences and the humanities, become involved on campus in a diverse array of student organizations, and to engage in outstanding undergraduate research."

Read more about Rachel

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BMB Features: Chantel Hennings

Chantel credits her success as an undergraduate student to the core principles she learned within the Marine Corps.  Her determination to strive for the best and her ability to “adapt and overcome” has helped her to navigate the difficult situations that have come her way.

Read more about Chantel

Image of Yashar Yaxiaer in front of a signature wall for Penn State's Dance Marathon

BMB Features: Yashar Yaxiaer

Yashar works every day to achieve his goal of becoming a surgeon where he hopes to one day foster the love of taking care of people within next generation of scientists and doctors, just like his father.

Read more about Yashar

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BMB Features: Ananda Rankin

“After seeing all of the cool stuff that you could do with science and all of the questions that you could answer, I became very interested in the subject,”

Read more about Ananda

Image of Anna Brogan standing next to her research poster at the Undergraduate Research Exhibition at Penn State

BMB Features: Anna Brogan

After graduation Anna will be attending Harvard University and pursuing a Ph.D in Biological and Biomedical Sciences.  She aspires to one day head a research group of her own and focus on fundamental questions within microbiology.

Read more about Anna

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BMB Features: Kaitlin Cole

Through her experiences in research and her love of service, Kaitlin has developed a strong passion for both medicine and social justice. 

Read more about Kaitlin 

Image of Anjali McNeil standing next to her undergraduate research exhibition poster

BMB Features: Anjali McNeil

In addition to her work in the lab, Anjali participates in several extracurricular activities to round out her Penn State Story.  She’s a member of the Oriana Singers, has sat on multiple THON committees, and is an active member of the national service sorority, Omega Phi Alpha.

Read more about Anjali

Image of Cailtan Surgeon posing with the Penn State Nittany Lion Shrine

BMB Features: Caitlan Surgeon

After obtaining her master degree in nursing Caitlan hopes to continue her career in the healthcare industry as a Certified Nurse MidWife.

Read more about Cailtlan 

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BMB Features Yoshitaka (Joey) Shibata

"I am passionate about medicine and biomedical research, and my goal is to become a physician-scientist who can translate a research into clinical solutions or explore problems faced in medical practice through research."

 Read more about Joey

Cuyler Luck receives poster session award
Share Your Story

If you are a current or past student and have a story that you would like to share, contact us.