Skip to main content
Undergraduate Programs
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

Image of Alexis Davison


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

Image of Taylor Yount


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

Image of Elizabeth McFadden working in the lab


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."

Image of Mollie McSweeney


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."

Image of Emily Snell


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

Image of Stephanie Poly


Stephanie Poly, Class of 2020


Read More About Stephanie's Research

Image of Jarrett Venezia working in the lab


Jarrett Venezia, Microbiology Major, Class of 2016

Research completely changed my post-college plans."

Read More About Jarrett's Research

Image of Will Han

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

Image of Rahul Mehta

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


Image of Basel Karim

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

Image of Rachel Swope

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

Image of Rachel Brunning

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

Image of Chantel Hennings

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

Image of Ananda Rankin

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

Image of Kaitlin Cole

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 

Image of Yoshitaka Shibata

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.