Collaborative research at Centre leads to graduate school at Harvard
RELEASED: Oct. 12, 2006
DANVILLE, KY—Becoming a part of Harvard University's family was something Shariya Terrell '06 began considering while she was still a member of Centre's family. The Bowling Green, Ky., native took part in a prestigious 10-week research opportunity at Harvard during the summer between her junior and senior years at Centre. Her research that summer at Harvard involving cancer cells complimented prior studies at Centre involving cell-death research.
Today, the biochemistry and molecular biology major is well into her first semester at Harvard in pursuit of a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences.
"I never even dreamed about being at Harvard for graduate school," Terrell says. "This wasn't my intention when I stepped onto Centre's campus four years ago. I want people to know this possibility is attainable and you just have to take the steps to get yourself there."
An important step for Terrell was taking advantage of the opportunities at Centre.
"At Centre, I got a specialized education and access to professors. They help you seek out opportunities for yourself and teach you not to be afraid to ask questions," Terrell says. "Now I'm comfortable approaching someone if I need help or raising my hand if I have a question - and the class size is a lot bigger here, too!"
A significant opportunity came for Terrell when her Centre advisor, Dr. Steve Asmus, chose her and two other Centre students to conduct brain-development research with him during the summer after her sophomore year. Then during Terrell's junior year, Dr. Joe Workman encouraged her to apply for other summer research opportunities, one of which was her Harvard internship.
"The experience with Dr. Asmus made me seriously think about conducting research as a profession," she says. "I'm not quite sure what my plans were before that. Had I not gotten the chance to know him through class, which facilitated him approaching me about this internship, it may not have occurred to me to do it at all."
Adjusting to life in Boston is something Terrell is getting used to. Surprisingly, she says, a lot of students she meets also come from small towns like Danville, Ky.
"I run into a lot of people from smaller schools," she says. "It isn't all about having gone to Ivy League schools, though many do. But it definitely is not a disadvantage to come from a small school."
Terrell says she can't wait to visit Centre campus, her advisors and her friends next weekend during Centre's Homecoming festivities Oct. 20-21.
"I actually have three midterms and a paper due after that, so the next week is going to be tough," she says. "But I'm excited, and it's going to be really nostalgic for me. This is the most important Homecoming, seeing people I just graduated with, plus three classes of people I knew while I was at Centre."
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Centre alumni, known for their nation-leading loyalty in annual financial support, include two U.S. vice presidents and two Supreme Court justices. For more, visit http://www.centre.edu/web/elevatorspeech/
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