We recently caught up with UNCG alumna Alexis Davis, class of 2019. As a biology major and chemistry minor, Davis spent hours in the lab for her coursework. But she also sought out undergraduate research experiences. Now Davis says, “When I reflect on my best moments while at UNCG, my time doing undergraduate research is at the top of my list.”
Tell us a bit about your UNCG undergraduate research experience.
At UNCG I participated in undergraduate research in Dr. Adamson’s lab, which is focused on virology. My research experience primarily consisted of studying Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which is a highly prevalent herpes virus that infects approximately 95% of the population. EBV is associated with illnesses such as infectious mononucleosis and certain types of cancer. My specific research project looked at how EBV may alter the expression of signaling proteins to aid in its replication. In addition to working in the Adamson lab, I was also able to participate in the GlaxoSmithKline Women In Science Scholars program.
What are you up to now?
Since graduating from UNCG, I was accepted into Campbell University’s PharmD/MSPH dual degree program, and I will be starting my third year there this fall. Recently I joined a study abroad trip in Ghana where I had the opportunity to work with an interprofessional team to conduct research assessing the nutritional status of school-aged adolescents and promote health education. This summer, an article I co-authored with Dr. Adamson was published in the journal Virology.
How did your undergraduate research experience impact your post-college path?
Those experiences played a tremendous role in my career path. My background in biology provided me with a strong foundation in biological systems, which is key to my current field of study. The GlaxoSmithKline Women In Science Scholars program enabled me to develop important connections that ultimately influenced my decision to pursue a career in industrial pharmacy, with a focus in health economics and outcomes research. And, by doing undergraduate research I gained many transferable skills that have greatly impacted my academic and professional journey thus far, including critical thinking, the ability to interpret scientific articles, and how to effectively talk and write about research findings.
What is your advice to current students thinking about undergraduate research?
My advice to any student considering undergraduate research is to go for it. Getting involved may seem like a daunting task, but the professors at UNCG are dedicated to helping students grow and succeed. I would start by looking into what each professor researches. Then, schedule a meeting with a professor whose research aligns with your interests. You should expect to be challenged and pushed out of your comfort zone, but you will grow in ways that are unimaginable both personally and academically.
Ok, last thing. Finish this sentence for us: “With my UNCG degree, I have been able to…
… solidify my passion for research and advance my academic career. Not only have I been given the necessary tools to excel academically, I have also developed many lifelong connections that are an active part of my professional support system.