||Recent grad receives grant for Harvard research
RELEASED: July 9, 2009
DANVILLE, KY—Shariya Terrell '06, a fourth-year graduate student at Harvard Medical School, has received the prestigious Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award, a pre-doctoral fellowship. The three-year award of approximately $90,000 will provide support for Terrell's dissertation training by contributing funds toward her tuition, health insurance, lab supplies and travel expenses, as well as a stipend.
Terrell's grant application detailed her proposed dissertation work regarding Herpes Simplex Virus-1 DNA Polymerase. The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (an institute within the National Institutes of Health) reviewed her application.
"One reviewer stated that this ranked among the most competitive applications he or she had reviewed!" Terrell says. "I plan to use the travel expenses to attend the International Herpes Virus Workshop."
The goal of the fellowship is to "train future generations of outstanding scientists who are committed to research careers in scientific health-related fields."
"[My] lab investigates the molecular events that occur during herpes virus replication and latency (mainly focusing on herpes simplex virus [HSV] and human cytomegalovirus [HCMV])," Terrell explains. "We hope to glean information that could that could aid in the development of antiviral therapy.
"During this application process, I had a chance to reflect on my time at
Centre and how much of an impact the people there had in my life," Terrell says. "I can't say that I'd be here today without having gone through those experiences and being challenged throughout my undergraduate career.
"Centre made me get out of my comfort zone," she continues. "I liked science, but at Centre I had to dabble in a lot of areas. For instance, I was actually afraid of philosophy, but I took a class and I loved it. I ended up taking three philosophy classes!"
Although Terrell says that her entire Centre experience contributed to her success, she also credits the particular interest of two Centre professors: Joe Workman, professor of chemistry, and Stephen Asmus, Elizabeth Molloy Dowling Associate Professor of Biology and Biochemistry & Molecular Biology.
"My problem-solving skills came partly from Dr. Workman. He expects a lot from his students—participation, confidence; he makes you learn the concepts, then use what you learn to solve problems.
"The summer before my junior year, Dr. Asmus approached me about working as a summer intern on his research project. Until that time, it had never occurred to me that research was something I could do as a career.
"The next summer I participated in the Summer Honors Undergraduate Research Program (SHURP) at Harvard Medical School. Dr. Workman approached me regarding this internship. These experiences helped me solidify my interest in scientific research and gave me the confidence to apply to Harvard for graduate school.
"I was interested in going to a much larger university, but my mother convinced me to take a look at Centre. Centre's classes of no more than 30 people gave me a one-on-one experience I don't think I could have gotten [at a large university]. I don't think the professors at a big school would have approached me about internship opportunities."
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Founded in 1819, Centre College is ranked among the U.S. News top 50 national liberal arts colleges. Consumers Digest ranks Centre No. 1 in educational value among all U.S. 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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