An Interview Education

I recently had the opportunity to meet up with three people that help make up a portion of The Ohio State University. I met up with an upperclassman, a teaching assistant for general chemistry, and my chemistry professor to discuss experiences and resources that are available to undergraduate students at OSU. The goal of these meetings was to become informed of different perspectives, opportunities, and general advice for being a student.

The first step in this assignment was determining who to talk to. I did not and still do not know very many people on campus, so I was slightly nervous to reach out to people I had never met. I looked at the list of STEM Exploration and Engagement third-year scholars to find an upperclassman who was studying biology and ideally was on a pre-professional track. I emailed Anna, and she agreed to meet up for coffee and talk about her experiences at the university. When I met up with Anna to conduct our interview, she mentioned that she knew a teaching assistant for general chemistry. I reached out to Natalie to ask her questions because my TA was not very receptive to questions and I did not feel like I had a strong connection with her. Natalie was very good at answering my questions and I had a lot in common with her. Choosing to talk to these two women were both decisions based strongly on common interests that were not necessarily based inside the classroom. Choosing a professor had more of a foundation in an interest in their research. I started the process by using Scopus to look for research articles by professors at The Ohio State University, and found an abundance of interesting articles. The more I looked, the more I found that there was so much I was interested in because I haven’t found a specific subject of biology that I am incredibly passionate about yet. Eventually I decided to take a step back and focus on a preceding question I knew I should ask myself first: academia or research? I knew that my chemistry professor Dr. Loza had worked in industry for a long time before she started teaching, so I looked up some of the articles that she had been involved with and met to talk with her during office hours after class.

First I met with Anna, who is a third year STEM Exploration and Engagement scholar. She is a biology major and on a pre-health track. Anna is laid-back in a way that lets you know that it’s okay to not have a life plan set in stone at the age of eighteen. She told me about how she struggled with her chemistry class freshman year and took the time to establish a good circle of friends before jumping into a sorority. She has had an experience that is very similar to the one that I want to have, so she could give me a lot of tips about how to stay sane during the transitions. Anna explained to me that a pre-health student was someone who knew they wanted to be on a pre-professional health field track but had yet to figure out which one. After hearing my uncertainty about what I wanted to do in the clinical health field, she encouraged me to meet with the advisor to see about switching me into pre-health and spoke highly of the program.

Anna introduced me to Natalie, who is a laboratory teaching assistant for general chemistry. Natalie gave me a lot of tips on getting involved in research and finding other opportunities to work on campus. She got her job as a TA by establishing a relationship with a professor who thought she would be perfect for the job and could put in a good recommendation for her. She emphasized this experience because the importance of the relationship was what helped her establish a small network on campus. She said that getting involved in research and jobs on campus tends to be more about who you know than what you can do, so every student should be adamant about emailing a lot of professors until you find someone who is willing to meet with you and possibly offer you a position. This would help you establish a relationship and start to build a network on campus.

In most cases, to meet with a professor to talk about possibly joining their research team, it is proper etiquette to find two or three articles that they’ve written to become familiar with their work. Before meeting with Dr. Loza, I looked up and read a few of her articles. I had to use Google Scholar to find these articles, because Dr. Loza wrote these papers while she was working at British Petroleum, so they were not connected The Ohio State University. I think that it is always good practice to read scholarly articles, because every scientist must learn how to read and understand them to be successful in a career, but in this case, it did not seem necessary to read them. It didn’t seem necessary because I was more interested in talking about what led Dr. Loza to where she is today, rather than her research.

Dr. Loza is an incredible person to sit down and talk to about a career in science, especially being a female. When she was in college she was studying to be a librarian because women were not encouraged to even try to get into the field of science. While she was in school she developed friendly relationships with some of the professors in the science department and when she told them she was going to be a librarian, they laughed at her and told her to get a degree in chemistry. She did, and pursued a career in industrial research at British Petroleum. Even after earning her degree she said that being a woman in science is incredibly difficult, and that her male co-workers would constantly play practical jokes on her, simply because she was a woman. However, she always just kept moving forward. Eventually she started teaching at The Ohio State University because her husband relocated for his job. She didn’t choose to enter the academia world, but is very passionate about her job now. She very strongly believes that a person should just take life as it comes, and to not worry if it doesn’t exactly fit into your plan.

While I am still not sure what exactly I want to do with my life, meeting with these three women helped me get a better idea of how to approach my career and how to become involved. I think it is very interesting that I only spoke with women in science, and I wonder how my experience would be different if I had contacted any men. However, I think it is important as a woman in science to have a network with other women in science, and I want to continue to facilitate the relationships with the three women that I met. This assignment has encouraged me to start reaching out to more professors to start to facilitate a network.


Pursuing Clinical Medicine Experience: My Involvement in VAW

At the beginning of this semester I joined an organization on campus called Volunteers Around the World at OSU. VAW is a worldwide organization that organizes medical outreach trips to different clinics in six different countries. This May I will be joining about twenty other students from The Ohio State University on a trip to Peru. While in the country, the OSU team will help take patients vitals, fill out intake forms, run the pharmacy, and spend a day in a local school teaching students about hygiene and health. I’ve been attending weekly meetings, in which I’ve learned about common diseases in Peru, how to take vitals, and a little bit of conversational Spanish.

VAW Logo

There are many fundraisers to support the trip, in which a group of volunteers is put together to help with different aspect of a bake sale, or clean the Schottenstein Center. I was wary of being put in a group with two or three other people who I’d never met before. I would have to spend at least an hour with those people, and was worried we would not have much to talk about. Two weekends ago, I had to make 300 sugar cookies, and 100 buckeyes with two other women. It is very interesting how much you can find in common with other women who you’ve never met before. Two of us were freshman, and the other woman had been a commuter student for her first two years at the university, so we were able to talk about our similarities in transition difficulties and our similar majors. I’ve been surprised at the large number of other freshmen I’ve met in VAW. Being a member in the STEM Exploration and Engagement Scholars group, I have mainly been meeting other people who live on my floor and are also in the program.

I think that is is very valuable to travel abroad, especially with a group of peers in the same age group. I am very excited to continue meeting other people with a common interest in clinical public health, and travel to Peru and witness the differences in healthcare and culture. I am hoping that going on this trip will help me determine whether or not a career in clinical medicine is something that I want to pursue.

Year in Review

[ “Year in Review”  is where you should reflect on the past year and show how you have evolved as a person and as a student.  You may want to focus on your growth in a particular area (as a leader, scholar, researcher, etc.) or you may want to talk about your overall experience over the past year.  For more information, go to: Delete these instructions and add your own post.]


[ “G.O.A.L.S.” is a place where students write about how their planned, current, and future activities may fit into the Honors & Scholars G.O.A.L.S.: Global Awareness, Original Inquiry, Academic Enrichment, Leadership Development, and Service Engagement. For more information, go to: Delete these instructions and add your own post.

Global Awareness: Students cultivate and develop their appreciation for diversity and each individual’s unique differences. For example, consider course work, study abroad, involvement in cultural organizations or activities, etc .
Original Inquiry: Honors & Scholars students understand the research process by engaging in experiences ranging from in-class scholarly endeavors to creative inquiry projects to independent experiences with top researchers across campus and in the global community. For example, consider research, creative productions or performances, advanced course work, etc.
Academic Enrichment: Honors & Scholars students pursue academic excellence through rigorous curricular experiences beyond the university norm both in and out of the classroom.
Leadership Development: Honors & Scholars students develop leadership skills that can be demonstrated in the classroom, in the community, in their co-curricular activities, and in their future roles in society.
Service Engagement: Honors & Scholars students commit to service to the community.]


[“Career” is where you can collect information about your experiences and skills that will apply to your future career.  Like your resume, this is information that will evolve over time and should be continually updated.   For more information, go to: Delete these instructions and add your own post.]


[Artifacts are the items you consider to be representative of your academic interests and achievements. For each entry, include both an artifact and a detailed annotation.  An annotation is a reflective description of the artifact that attempts to communicate its significance.  For more information, go to: Delete these instructions and add your own post.]

About Me


My name is Lucy Niermann. I’m from Oak Park, IL, a city just ten minutes from downtown Chicago. Living so close to the city I was able to experience many interesting experiences by going to different restaurants, cultural festivals, and simply exploring the city with my friends. I believe this has given me a better, more diverse mindset to view the rest of the world.  I am a first year at The Ohio State University, majoring in biology and minoring in dance. I am also a member of the STEM Exploration and Engagement program.

It was not until later in high school that I found my passion for the biological sciences. Senior year of high school I took AP Biology, in which my teacher who had once worked in a hospital, focused particularly on the medical applications of biology. I knew that biology was my favorite of the sciences, but that year I became more passionate about applications in the medical field. I haven’t yet narrowed my focus for the medical field quite yet. I declared a general biology major so I could have the opportunity to take different classes and further determine what I’m passionate about.

When I’m outside of class, I love to dance. I was a member of my high school’s Varsity dance team and was captain for two years, which greatly helped me improve my leadership skills. I also was a member of the school’s more traditional dance organization and took many classes at local studios. Dance is very important to me because it provides an artistic outlet into an otherwise STEM-filled life. The diverse experiences I had in Chicago instilled the value of diversity in me, so it’s important to me to keep my interests well-rounded.

I really wasn’t sure how I would continue to dance during my time at OSU. When speaking to my advisor at freshman orientation over the summer, I mentioned to her that I was thinking of declaring a dance minor. She loved the idea, and encouraged me to pursue my passion for dance. I am hoping that throughout my classes I can find a way to connect both areas of my studies. Even if the connection doesn’t provide a career path that I’m interested in, I believe it would be very beneficial to study the ways dance and medicine interact.

The Ohio State University is a great fit for me. The STEM Scholars program will provide resources and activities that will facilitate my academic growth and career application. OSU has a great dance program as well, so it will help me find a relief among my other rigorous courses. I’m very excited to learn about more opportunities to grow as a STEM Scholar and a dancer at The Ohio State University.