Meet Kenzie Temperly, a senior major from Winslow, IL, who is on the Clinical and Applied Sciences Track of the Health Sciences major. In her last year at Drake, Kenzie was able to do research with a faculty member at Drake University in Des Moines, IA.
I have been involved with physiological research at Drake for almost three years. Working with Dr. Kimberly Huey, I have conducted several projects regarding the combination of exercise and prescription drugs or supplements and the related effects on muscular strength, endurance, and growth factor expression. These studies are carried out using various mouse models. Within my role, I am responsible for completing the following experimental techniques: preparing solutions, performing daily injections, conducting pre- and post-maximal treadmill tests, analyzing the force and fatigue data from function muscle testing, harvesting muscle and heart samples, and performing Elisa assays. Additionally, I analyze the results, and then write and create abstracts and posters to present at professional meetings. My role has highlighted how much patience and dedication is required to conduct a successful research project.
Every single course I have taken at Drake has prepared me for the experiences I have encountered in the research lab. This includes STEM-based, writing-intensive, critical-thinking, public speaking, and value-based classes. Each played a part in my ability to read research articles, remain disciplined in my benchwork skills, interpret statistics, and connect my work to those within different fields. Relatedly, my professors have always encouraged me to ask questions. They taught me to prioritize true understanding and learning from mistakes rather than getting an A in the class. Translating this into the research field has helped me be so successful because there is no one, right answer in science; it is always changing. You must be able to identify relationships and adapt to new situations.
Life as a scientist is all about not knowing what to expect. Conducting research is not a typical Monday through Friday 9:00am – 5:00pm job where you do the same thing every day. Many challenges can be presented, whether it is scheduling conflicts, equipment failures, or the results do not turn out like you expected them too. That is the beauty of science. One must think creatively to find an alternative path to take and collaborate with others to share ideas. There is never an end to learning, questioning, or searching for the answer to the next question.
My favorite memories from this experience so far have come from working with Dr. Huey and my lab partner. Getting to know them has been very enjoyable, as they are both great individuals professionally and personally. We all had lunch at Zombie Burger together to celebrate our work, and it was fun to discuss what lies ahead for us.
My favorite part about majoring in Health Sciences is the curriculum. As a future physician, I want to provide the best care possible. That includes being able to complete procedures and make correct diagnoses by understanding the science behind the condition; however, it also involves being able to communicate with my future patients, work with insurance companies to cover certain treatments, make choices for them, and more. The Health Sciences program ensures your science courses are covered, but they also incorporate classes regarding the U.S. healthcare system, entrepreneurship, research literacy, values and ethics. These are the classes that will aid me in being able to relate to my future patients and give them the best overall experience. Additionally, I have enjoyed how much the Health Sciences program encourages its students to utilize their academic advisor. My advisor, Dr. Ron Torry, has been a great resource to me these past four years here at Drake. He has answered almost every question that has come up or connected me with someone who could if he was not able to. All the faculty and staff within CPHS are extremely friendly and approachable. They can help connect you to other professors and individuals both within and outside the Drake community.
During my time at Drake, I have been able to achieve the goals I had when coming into the program and many more I had never even thought of before. The summer going into my junior year, I received the 2018 American Physiological Society (APS) STRIDE research fellowship. The following spring, I was able to travel to Orlando to present my findings at the international Experimental Biology meeting where I received the 2019 Barbara A. Horwitz and John M. Horowitz Outstanding Undergraduate Abstract Award and Excellence in Undergraduate Research Award. Additionally, I was also fortunate to receive the NASA Iowa Space Grant Consortium (ISGC) Undergraduate research fellowship for both my junior and senior years. For my work on this grant that was conducted last year, I received the Local Undergraduate Research Award from the APS. I am excited to present again at the ISGC conference in Iowa City this upcoming April. I have enjoyed being involved with CPHS’s Student Governance Association throughout all four of my years at Drake, being on the President’s and Dean’s Lists, and being recognized by my professors to receive the Outstanding Health Sciences Student Award in May of 2019.
College is the time to receive a great education to prepare for your future, but it is also a time to have a lot of fun and meet so many new people. Remind yourself that you are a human being that needs to take time for yourself. Whether you like to relax, play sports, read a book, watch movies, or hangout with friends, step away from the textbooks and take at least thirty minutes a day to do that one thing. Making connections with yourself and with your professors, peers, and community members is a whole lot more resourceful and meaningful than striving to be a perfectionist in the classroom.