Student Spotlight: Violet Kimble C’21

Violet Kimble C’21                             

What attracted you to Drew?

My parents both went to Drew, so it was the obvious choice. Plus, I would be able to continue to run cross country here.

Why did you choose Neuroscience as a major?

I actually came to Drew as a biochemistry major, but after an introductory neuroscience class, I switched to neuroscience, and I could not be happier. I was attracted to neuroscience because I was interested in studying the effects of drugs on the brain. I also liked the room for discovery in neuroscience. There is still so much unknown that it was exciting to work on projects that contributed to moving the field forward.

Have you done any internships?

My sophomore year, I was a program development intern at Students 2 Science, Inc., where I collaborated with program faculty to develop experiments and informational materials for virtual lab sessions for 6-12th grade students.

In the summer of 2019, I interned with Dr. Elissa Chesler at the Jackson Laboratory in the Center for Systems Neurogenetics of Addiction. I investigated how sex differences play a significant role in cocaine dependence.

For the summer of 2020, I was accepted into the Summer Honors Undergraduate Research Program (SHURP) at Harvard Medical School. I joined Dr. Martha Bulyk‘s Lab to understand how alternatively-spliced isoforms transcription factors (TFs) may have different biological effects on gene expression.

I am currently interning in Dr. Drew Kiraly‘s lab, Drew alumni, at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. I am working on a project to establish a mechanistic link between the adolescent gut microbiome, the production of short-chain fatty acids (SCFAs), and opioid self-administration.

When did you start running and how was your experience running on Drew’s Cross Country team?

I started running cross country in eighth grade. I thought running was the coolest sport. I joined a local team, Crimson Knights cross country, where I made friends with my teammates and was welcomed into the running community. I think what makes cross country so special is the community that comes along with it. Everyone just wants you to run your best and have fun so when I was looking to join a college team, that is what I was looking for and got at Drew.

I had the pleasure of running cross country at Drew since freshman year. I had a great coach, Zack Mower, who helped make running in college enjoyable. As a cross country athlete, I was on the NCAA DIII National Student-Athlete Advisory Committee for the 2017 and 2018 seasons.  I was awarded the Women’s Cross Country team MVP and top finisher for the 2018 and 2019 season and the All-ECAC honor by virtue of a top-15 finish at the ECAC Championships for the 2018 and 2019 season.

Do you have any mentors at Drew?

Dr. Christina McKittrick has taken me under her wing and helped me navigate the research landscape providing research experience, letters of recommendation, and advice on graduate school.

Dr. Sarah Abramowitz helped me grow my knowledge in statistics and encouraged me to take Statistical Machine Learning at the graduate level at Drew when it was not offered at the undergraduate level. Without her confidence in my ability, I would not have been able to complete my statistics minor. Both were excellent professors and serve as inspiration for my own career as I hope to become a professor.

What advice would you give students who are just starting out that you wish you had when you started?

If the advisors that you are assigned do not take interest in your academic success find a new one. Do not waste your time trying to convince an advisor that you are worthy of advising just move on.

What are your career goals? Where do you hope to be in 5 years?

My career goal is to become a Neuroscience professor. I hope to run my own lab while teaching students various neuroscience concepts. In 5 years, I hope to be graduating from Yale’s Ph.D. program in neuroscience or at least nearing the end of the program.

Are there any fun fact (s) you would like to share?

I hiked Mount Katahdin for my 20th birthday and my cat, SuperStar, is my pride and joy.

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