“I love being able to conduct research while learning to better understand the natural world around me.”
— Colleen Friel
“I enjoy Biochemistry because it gives you a wide range of opportunities to get involved with science and become a well-rounded student,” Colleen Friel explains. “I love being able to conduct research while learning to better understand the natural world around me.”
As a Biochemistry major, Colleen has focused her studies on agricultural plant-microbe interactions – a combination of plant biology and microbiology. She has fulfilled multiple research internships by working with various Allegheny professors, and she has also performed research at the South Dakota State University Department of Biology and Microbiology. Along the way, Colleen claims that she has received much guidance from her academic advisor and professors.
“Allegheny’s faculty has been wonderful in helping me to figure out what expectations I need to live up to in order to succeed as a college student,” Colleen says. “And my advisor has been absolutely amazing in doing things such as helping me pick my classes, go to graduate school expos and conferences, proofread my research abstracts and applications, and research internship opportunities. I feel like that kind of student/faculty connection is one you can’t get anywhere else.”
Along with her Biochemistry studies, Colleen is also an Economics minor and has taken various Music courses. This unusual combination of classes will allow Colleen to obtain a unique undergraduate degree without having to ignore any of her interests.
“Economics doesn’t usually get paired together with science, but I’ve found that it allows me to better understand the process of gaining funding for grants that I will rely on to perform research in my future career,” Colleen explains. “And even though it is not my major or minor, I spend quite a bit of time in the music department. Music allows me to step back from all of my analytical tendencies and embrace my creative side.”
On campus, Colleen is also the Secretary of the Equestrian Club, the Treasurer of the Beta Beta Beta National Biology Honor Society, a Research Assistant for the Environmental Science department, and a Teaching Assistant for both the Biology Freshman Seminar and the Physics department. Her future plans are to obtain a Ph.D. in plant pathology and conduct research on biocontrol bacteria. She claims her key to success at Allegheny is all about taking advantage of the chances offered to students.
“The ideal Allegheny student is motivated, inquisitive, and tenacious,” Colleen explains. “No matter what horizon you want to expand your learning toward, Allegheny can offer you the opportunity to do so. It’s a school where you don’t have to be afraid to push the envelope a little bit.”