“Professors also encourage independent and faculty/student research, which is where the real learning takes place. Few other schools offer this much undergraduate research.”
— Colleen Zink
When biochemistry major Colleen Zink isn’t peering through a microscope in the lab or studying, she’s leading rafting, rock climbing, or hiking trips with the Outing Club. She also enjoys her Spanish minor classes. “After sitting through lectures and labs, I get to attend Spanish class, where we listen to music, play games, and practice conversing,” says Colleen. “It serves as a nice balance to my intense science classes.”
But science—especially biochemistry—is her first love. “I like how biochemistry combines three sciences: chemistry, biology and physics,” says Colleen, a pre-med student. “It fulfills almost all the pre-health requirements. Also, I find it fascinating how the science of chemistry comes alive in the body.”
Colleen is particularly interested in ribonucleic acid (RNA), which encodes genetic information and catalyzes biochemical reactions. She’s been conducting independent research on RNA since her second semester and spent one summer assisting with thermodynamics research. She’ll apply this experience in her Senior Project, studying the thermodynamics of synthesized RNA.
“In comparison to other schools I was looking at, Allegheny had the best lab facilities, the most one-on-one help, and the best statistics for getting students into medical school,” says Colleen. “Professors also encourage independent and faculty/student research, which is where the real learning takes place. Few other schools offer this much undergraduate research.”