McArdle 'Blog' photo

McArdle Blog L7 ~ 1/14/2014

Happy New Year everyone!

And what better way to welcome the New Year than by introducing the newest students in the Cancer Biology Graduate Program. A total of 33 students are currently enrolled in the Cancer Biology Graduate Program, with an incoming class size of 5 for the Fall 2013 admission cycle. Mary Durston, Edward Evans, Kyle Helzer, David Lung, and Kathleen Makielski came from all across the U.S. to join our program, and here is your chance to get to know them better. We sent them a short list of questions to which they all graciously responded as summarized below.

 

Mary Durston

Where are you originally from? Indian River, MI

College: Grand Valley State University, Grand Rapids, MI

Undergraduate major: Cell and Molecular Biology

Why did you choose Cancer Biology as a graduate major? I have wanted to study cancer ever since I was in the 8th grade. My mom was diagnosed with vulvar cancer in 2000 and has since recovered and is in remission, so when I was in 8th grade and read about a molecular biologist who studied cancer, I knew I wanted to be a molecular biologist who studied cancer. Mainly so I can understand how cancer cells progress within the body, and all of the aberrations that lie therein.

How do you like Wisconsin so far? There is not much difference between Wisconsin and Michigan.

What are some of your favorite activities outside of the lab? I enjoy hanging out with all of the other graduate students in the program, I enjoy running (when it's above 50 degrees). I also cook a lot and bake.

What labs have you rotated in so far? And, if you have chosen a lab, which one is it? I have rotated with Drs. Rich Halberg, Elaine Alarid, and Randy Tibbetts, and I am doing a fourth rotation with Dr. Lixin Rui. I have not yet chosen a lab, but hope to after this rotation.

Update: Mary has joined the Tibbetts lab!

 

Edward Evans

Where are you originally from? Daly City, California.  Right under San Francisco.  You could drive right through it and not know it!

College: San Francisco State University

Undergraduate major: Cell and Molecular Biology

Why did you choose Cancer Biology as a graduate major? I wanted to make a difference in the field but I was also particularly interested in the Cancer Biology program here as it had a nice selection of virology labs. For me, it was an easy winner.

How do you like Wisconsin so far? So far it has been a blast.  I love the people, food and especially the science.

What is your favorite thing about Wisconsin? The cheese.

What are some of your favorite activities outside of the lab? Watching a good movie and spending time with friends is the best. 

What labs have you rotated in so far? And, if you have chosen a lab, which one is it? I rotated with Drs. Bill Sugden, Paul Lambert, and Nathan Sherer.  My rotations were all great and I learned a lot even in my short time with them.  In the end I chose to join Nathan Sherer’s group as it was the best fit for me.  It was a hard choice as everyone here is doing really great science.

 

Kyle Helzer

Where are you originally from? Kentwood, Michigan

College: University of Michigan – Ann Arbor

Undergraduate major: Cellular and Molecular Biology

Why did you choose Cancer Biology as a graduate major? I have a strong interest in the subject and I find the underlying biology fascinating.

How do you like Wisconsin so far? I like it a lot! I’m having a great time!

What is your favorite thing about Wisconsin? Madison is a great town and Devil’s Lake is really cool too. Also, the beer and cheese.

What are some of your favorite activities outside of the lab? Biking, hiking, backpacking, playing piano, and ultimate frisbee.

What labs have you rotated in so far? And, if you have chosen a lab, which one is it? I rotated in the Alarid lab, the Kimple lab, and the Halberg lab. I decided to join the Alarid lab.

 

David Lung

Where are you originally from? Clemmons, North Carolina

College: Duke University

Undergraduate major: Biology (Concentrated in Cell and Molecular Biology)

Why did you choose Cancer Biology as a graduate major? My undergraduate research focused on developing novel therapeutics for cancer. However, it was clear to me there were still many unknowns, and I was very interested in continuing to work on elucidating the mechanisms of cancer progression.

How do you like Wisconsin so far? I love it! It actually reminds me of North Carolina when it comes to the people and just the overall slow and relaxing lifestyle.

What is your favorite thing about Wisconsin? The people. Everyone I have met has been extremely helpful and generous with my transition here, whether it’s someone from the program or just a passerby. 

What are some of your favorite activities outside of the lab? Hanging out with friends and taking walks/exploring around Madison.

What labs have you rotated in so far? And if you have chosen a lab, which one is it? I have rotated in Dr. William Ricke’s, Dr. Alan Rapraeger’s and Dr. Elaine Alarid’s labs. I have just recently joined Dr. Alarid’s lab!

 

Kathleen Makielski

Where are you originally from?  Warren, PA

College: University of Notre Dame for B.S.; University at Albany SUNY for Master of Science in Forensic Molecular Biology

Undergraduate major: Biological Sciences (Anthropology Minor)

Why did you choose Cancer Biology as a graduate major? I have wanted to work on molecular mechanisms involved in cancer for a few years, and working as a research specialist at the Hillman Cancer Center in Pittsburgh for about 2 years confirmed that this is definitely the field I want to pursue. 

How do you like Wisconsin so far?  I love it so far.

What is your favorite thing about Wisconsin? My favorite thing is living in the same city as my in-laws.

What are some of your favorite activities outside of the lab? I like to eat, drink, and play fantasy sports with my husband, Rory.

What labs have you rotated in so far? And, if you have chosen a lab, which one is it? Rapraeger lab, Sugden lab, and Lambert lab. Joined the Lambert Lab.

 

Please join us in welcoming all our new students and wishing them the best of luck as they pursue their degrees!

~Saja Fakhraldeen