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This Student Speaker for 2018 Outlines 4 Unforgettable Experiences in Natural Sciences

This Student Speaker for 2018 Outlines 4 Unforgettable Experiences in Natural Sciences

This weekend the University of Texas at Austin celebrates its 135th class of graduates, and there are many amazing individuals among them in the College of Natural Sciences' Class of 2018.

Three students will address their classmates at Saturday's various College of Natural Sciences commencement ceremonies: Biochemistry student Rachel N. Obimah will lead off the first ceremony, followed by her fellow Dean's Honored Graduates Nick Walker at the 12 p.m. ceremony and Katherine Kykta at the 3:30 ceremony. All are being held at the Erwin Center. 

Rachel sat down with us in the Fall to talk about some of her experiences as a College of Natural Sciences student. Here are four of the experiences she looks back on as especially meaningful to her time in the College.

  1. ​Getting that first taste for research in the Freshman Research Initiative.

    Like many CNS students, Rachel got on early start in research, joining a lab her freshman year through the Freshman Research Initiative. Her experience there in the Bioprospecting stream set a foundation: she's remained involved in research since and foresees that she'll continue to do research in health throughout her life. FRI, she says, planted a seed, and, "To me, life without research is life without growing."

  2. Finding community in Women in Natural Sciences

    Rachel has served as a leading mentor and program assistant in the Women in Natural Sciences (WINS) program. It's an experience, she believes, opened a lot of doors for her. Involvement there spurred her to become engaged with a number of other efforts in student life at UT, and these have benefited her career, playing a role in making her more competitive in applications for medical school. Rachel will attend the McGovern Medical School in Houston after graduation.

  3. ​Discovering her own power to make a difference. 

    One especially meaningful experience for Rachel was getting to be a camp counselor twice at the Dell Medical School's Health Sciences Summer Camp. The camp aims to promote diversity in STEM, a subject Rachel is passionate about. She has served also as president of the
 African Students Organization, an active member of the 
CNS Council for Diversity Engagement, and as a student representative on the CNS Diversity and Inclusion Committee and the CNS Dean Search Committee. She also has volunteered with 
Posada Esperanza, Casa Marianella, Meals on Wheels, service abroad, and WINS' outreach program.  

  4. ​Making the most of summer opportunities.

    Rachel conducted research through the National Science Foundation Research Infrastructure Science and Engineering (RISE) Program, where she examined the impact of indoor and outdoor dust on environmental bacteria​. That work will result in a paper that Rachel's an author on. In 2016, she did research at Howard University and talked about the experience for the WINS newsletter: "I participated in a summer medical program where I took classes and shadowed doctors. I also had the amazing opportunity to do research in the W. Montague Cobb Research Laboratory, which is known as the new home for the African Burial Ground Collection. There, I devoted my time to mapping out the history of an individual found in the Cobb Collection, discovering how the social environment of the time may have affected their health. My research involved analyzing bones, looking up records, and piecing together chronological events of society and of the individual's personal life to develop a thorough analysis." 


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Monday, 15 October 2018

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