Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Jessica Strock

My internship. The Antimicrobial Discovery Center (ADC) is a molecular microbiology group at Northeastern University studying bacterial persister cells, drug discovery, unculturable microorganisms, and Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Directed by Dr. Kim Lewis, I specifically worked with Laura Fleck in the drug discovery group. We were interested in identifying pro-drug antibiotics by screening compounds against different types of bacteria including E. coli and S. aureus.

Why it is important. No new broad-spectrum class of antibiotics has been discovered in the past 40 years. Another significant fact is that no antibiotic has ever been able to completely sterilize an infection due to the presence of persister cells.

Getting the job. My endocrinology professor and Wheaton alumnus, Lawrence Mulcahy ’99, helped me make the connection. I was eager to gain outside lab research and Professor Mulcahy was able to find a project for me to work on. I immediately applied for the Wheaton Fellow grant. I worked alongside another Wheaton alumni and graduate student Laura Fleck.

The payoff. Most medical schools like to see pre-med students gain experience in a research laboratory at some point. A laboratory setting allows a pre-med student to apply problem-solving strategies and pre-med coursework knowledge.

Favorite class. It was Dr. Ed Tong’s physiology course because we were able to volunteer at Sturdy Memorial Hospital in the many different areas of medicine.

Outside the lab. My favorite activity outside of class is playing on the Wheaton field hockey team. I’m looking forward to a successful 2010 season. The best part of my Wheaton experience is being a student-athlete. Both the athletic and academic departments at Wheaton work together to bring success to my experiences both on the field and in the classroom. My professors are interested in finding out when my games are and my coach expects nothing less than academic excellence. I am constantly challenged as a student and as an athlete. As a Wheaton Athletic Mentor, I’ve enjoyed connecting school and sports in the Wheaton community.