I was born and raised in Kansas City (briefly on the Missouri side, mostly on the Kansas side). By the end of high school, I wasn't certain of the trajectory I wanted my education to take. I was split between business, scientific research, and medicine.
To keep my options open, I enrolled in the University of Kansas Honors Program, majoring in chemical engineering with a biomedical focus (the engineering version of a minor). While there, I worked as a research assistant in Dr. Candan Tamerler's lab, where we worked with engineered peptide sequences to modify preexisting proteins' functions.
My work with Dr. Tamerler enabled me to participate in the Discoveries in Bioimaging REU program through the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where I spent a summer working with machine learning algorithms, attempting to optimize one to distinguish between different cancer stages based solely upon biopsied tissue. I presented this work as a poster at the Biomedical Engineering Society's 2016 meeting in Minneapolis, Minnesota. I was also tapped to present this work at the Council on Undergraduate Research's annual symposium at the NSF, and again on Capitol Hill as part of CUR's Posters on the Hill program.