Kristin Lenke, B.S. ’10, a first year student in the Pharmacy Program at the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, didn’t always feel at home in the laboratory. But the many hands-on experiences she had as a biology major at Henderson changed all that. “I remember being so intimidated by the thought of research and working in a lab,” she said. “But once I got started, I realized that my [Henderson] teachers had given me the proper tools and knowledge to perform my own experiments and draw conclusions.”
In addition to teaching classes for two semesters as part of the Undergraduate Teaching Assistant Program, Kristin was involved with several research projects. These included one for which she analyzed local plant specimens for their evolutionary origin and another one concerning the genetics of cave microorganisms in Blanchard Springs Caverns in Stone County, Ark. She said these opportunities helped her to gain confidence in the lab and experience with laboratory equipment and processes. They also gave her the “competitive edge” she needed to be accepted to pharmacy school, she said.
Other experiences, like studying abroad in South America, made her education even more meaningful for her, she said. “I remember learning about the decaying health of the coral reef, but it meant so much more when I was able to see the coral reef in Panama and see the effect that it had on the ecosystem,” she recalled.
Overall, Kristin said she has felt prepared for her first year in pharmacy school because of the rigors of Henderson’s program and dedication of the professors. “I felt that Henderson’s biology department was very challenging, which gave me the discipline to help me face the challenges of pharmacy school,” she said. “The teachers challenged me and gave me the confidence to help me reach my full academic potential. I've come into pharmacy school, not only feeling prepared, but ahead of the game."