Class of 2018: Research opportunities set this scientist on career path

Carlisle DeJulius will be the student speaker at the Spring Commencement ceremony on Friday, May 11, at 7 p.m. She is a Williams Honors Scholar graduating with a B.S. in Biomedical Engineering, Biomaterials and Tissue Engineering Track, summa cum laude.

Hometown: Brimfield, Ohio

High School: Field High School

VIDEO: Carlisle DeJulius describes her undergraduate research as a biomedical engineering student at The University of Akron.

What’s next?

I will be starting my Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering at Vanderbilt University in the fall. I will be studying polymeric drug delivery strategies for osteoarthritis therapies. Arthritis impacts many people and lowers their quality of life, including some of my close family members. Therefore, I am very motivated and excited to tackle this problem.

Q: Favorite campus activity?

A: My favorite campus activity has been a high school shadow day organized by the Society of Women Engineers. In this event, we bring female students from surrounding high schools to campus, and they shadow our members to engineering classes. I love being a role model for younger prospective female scientists.

Q: Biggest surprise about college life?

A: I was surprised at how easily I made friends with the other students. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming, and it was easy to find common interests. I have made friends at UA that I will have for the rest of my life.

Q: What's your advice to incoming freshmen?

A: Get out there! Some of the most rewarding experiences of my undergraduate career have been as a member of student organizations. Find your passions and pursue them, and it will be much easier to handle the stress of college.

Q: If you had an internship or co-op, what did you get out of it?

A: I spent the summer between my sophomore and junior year at Cornell University for a research internship. This experience gave me the opportunity to move to a new city, meet new people and integrate into a new laboratory. I learned a lot of valuable research techniques and made connections that helped me secure my graduate school position.

Q: Best advice you ever got from a professor?

A: My research mentor, Dr. Rebecca Willits, often tells her students, “Just try something.” What she means is, there is only so much planning you can do. At some point, you need to get off paper and into the lab to test your ideas. It is impossible to plan for everything, whether in the lab or in life, so you can't be afraid to fail.