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Standing Out from the Crowd


Standing Out from the Crowd: FAU Honors College Sophomore Admitted to Highly Competitive Summer Institute

March 18th, 2013 (Jupiter, FL) –Many people regard the summer break from college as a relaxing time, an opportunity to do some travel and take a break from academics. But students at Florida Atlantic University's Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College tend to do things a little differently. This year a member of the Wilkes Honors College community has been accepted to the prestigious Summer Research Experience for Undergraduates program at Johns Hopkins University, where she will have the opportunity to work side by side with some of the most prominent researchers in the field of biology.

Rachel Turn came to the Honors College two years ago witha passion for the sciences. During her time at FAU's MacArthur Campus, she has taken every opportunity to acquire research skills and experience that have helped her to excel in her study of biology. Under the direction of Honors College professor Dr. Paul Kirchman, Turn began researching summer research experience programs throughout the country, looking for opportunities to enhance her research skills during the summer months. "Over winter break, I found Johns Hopkins BioREU website and grew truly interested in the current research conducted by the advisors offering the program," explains Turn. She was also excited by the opportunities provided to present research to the community, and the integration of diverse fields of study within the program. After completing the various components of her application and receiving recommendations from several Honors College professors, Turn submitted her application and waited to hear from the program.

Only a handful of students from around the country are accepted to Johns Hopkins BioREU every year, and Turn knew that her application would have to stand out from the rest if she was to have a chance to participate in the program. Apparently she met that goal admirably. Johns Hopkins soon responded that Turn had been accepted and would be travelling to Baltimore in May to join the undergraduate research team. Turn was ecstatic. "I was truly shocked and felt so honored that they had accepted me into the program," she exclaims. "Although I had dreamt of becoming a part of the research community at Johns Hopkins, I had never imagined that it would become a reality." Turn insists that the support of her family and the members of the FAU community was essential during the strenuous application process and while she waited for the program's decision. "I was so thankful for all of the support of my family, teachers, and friends, and I am so thankful that I have the opportunity to conduct research at Johns Hopkins."

On May 28th Turn will begin working with a faculty advisor from Johns Hopkins to complete her own original research alongside other undergraduate students, as well as graduate students from the university. "In addition to my research, I will also have the opportunity to interact with graduate students and researchers from other laboratories, to travel to Washington, D.C. to meet with Congress members and Senators to discuss the importance of research programs, and to present my findings in an oral and poster presentation," says Turn. She anticipates that this opportunity will give her a great advantage in her future biological research. "I hope to develop new laboratory skills that I can apply to my future research endeavors, and to meet new people who also share in the same love of learning and exploration as I do," she says. "I also want to grow an understanding of what lies ahead for me in my career path, and to open my mind to new opportunities that lie ahead."

Turn is already planning how she will take advantage of such opportunities in the future. She envisions this program as one more step toward her eventual goal: an academic career in an exciting field. "I am planning a research career in cellular biology through attaining a doctorate degree in that field. Additionally, I hope to serve as a professor in an institution which affords me the opportunity for scientific research," Turn describes. She insists that academia will provide her the greatest opportunity to share her love for the study of biology and her passion for her field with upcoming generations of students. However, her interests don't only extend to the field of biology. She also plans to pursue her studies in literature, another academic passion. Regardless of where her studies take her, Turn hopes to pursue her professional goals with the same enthusiasm that she has brought to her undergraduate studies.

Despite her ambitious plans for the future, Turn states that her successes will depend in many ways on the valuable experiences she has had during her time at the Honors College. "I am truly grateful to the Harriet L. Wilkes Honors College for preparing me to become part of the Johns Hopkins BioREU program," she says, "And I am thankful for all of the people who have provided me with the guidance through this application process." As summer quickly approaches, the members of the Honors College community are excited to see what great accomplishments are in store for Turn, and are confident that she will be an excellent example for the Honors College during her summer studies. We wish her all the best for a successful and rewarding experience.

Byline: Megan Geiger (HC student)

Last Modified 12/12/13