Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Whitworth senior selected as 2013 Amgen Scholar for summer research program


Whitworth senior Kristin Wucherer was selected as one of 255 U.S. students from a pool of 3,640 applicants nationwide to participate in the Amgen Scholars Program last summer at the University of California, Berkeley.

“I loved the opportunity to do research at a large research institution with scholars from all around the nation,” Wucherer says. “I was also very fortunate to have the chance to talk with current graduate students and professors, because I am considering UC Berkeley for graduate school.”

Wucherer, a chemistry major, completed a summer research project under the mentorship of Bryan Krantz, assistant professor of biochemistry, biophysics and structural biology at UC Berkeley. In the lab, she helped investigate the mechanism and dynamics of protein translocation, using electrophysiology and statistical analysis.

As part of the summer program, Wucherer attended the annual Amgen Scholars U.S. Symposium July 20-22 at UCLA, where students explored biotechnology and drug discovery and development.  The symposium provided an opportunity to meet and connect with other scholars and leading scientists from across the nation, and included a visit to Amgen company headquarters in Thousand Oaks, Calif.

“I had a really great overall experience,” Wuchere says. “Internships are very valuable experiences no matter your major or area of interest.”

After graduating from Whitworth, Wucherer plans to attend graduate school for chemistry or biochemistry. She is considering pursuing a dual Ph.D. /M.D. degree and is thinking about a future career in academia.

Amgen, founded in 1980, is a multinational biopharmaceutical company and is also the world’s largest independent biotechnology firm. The Amgen Scholars Program is a summer research internship program that provides undergraduate students with hands-on lab experience on important university research projects; the program is designed to broaden the perspective of students considering careers in scientific fields. Amgen launched the program in 2006 and continually seeks to facilitate advancements in science education.

Located in Spokane, Wash., Whitworth is a private liberal arts university affiliated with the Presbyterian church. The university, which has an enrollment of 3,000 students, offers 60 undergraduate and graduate degree programs.