SOAR Student Profiles

Gracie Johnson

Gracie Johnson

  • SOAR Position: Member; Alumni
  • Major: Biology (Physiology Concentration)
  • Faculty Mentor(s): Dr. Mengliang Zhang & Dr. Greg VanPatten

Current Focus: The Exchange of Nanoparticles and Peptoids; 10 Reasons to Consider an Internship

Additional Interests: Hiking, Singing, Playing Piano, Watercolor Painting, Reading

Project Description

Physiochemical research with peptoid coated iron oxide nanoparticles that have the potential to reduce cytotoxicity of MRI contrasting agents. My honors thesis is elaborating on the significance of internships prior to applying to medical school, or programs of similar disciplines.

Why does this topic interest you?

My research project interests me because I love trying to comprehend things happening on a nanoscale, I see it as a puzzle. Initially, all I knew about quantum dots is that they glow and they’re used in solar panels and TVs, but it was enough interest to push me to learn so much more. Now I am interested in this project because of its potential to make such a change. For my creative project, I am interested because there are few premed students that complete internships, but they all do DPC or anything else. I wanted to explore how students perform dependent on internship experiences. I’m also creating presentations with my findings to share with the MTSU career center so any upcoming premed students have access to this information!

What are your professional aspirations?

I aspire to become a physician assistant to serve those in underrepresented areas across the country, as I feel this is a pressing matter and only growing worse.

Do you have any advice for future researchers?

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes or ask questions! Getting into the lab is the hardest part, but then make the most of it and have fun! Form a genuine connection with your mentor, and you’ll be surprised how quickly you grow as a researcher.

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