Honors student, soccer standout, aspiring scientist – it’s all in a day’s work for Laura Felix.
It is not easy to write an article about Laura Felix, a Thomas More College junior biology major. Not because there is nothing to say about the innate intelligence of this TMC honor student, or her drive and stamina as a standout soccer player, or the curiosity and passion she has as an aspiring young scientist but because her humility keeps her from boasting about the true magnitude of her most recent honor.
Working towards a biology degree with a cellular and molecular concentration, Laura maintains a grade point average of 3.97 and recently learned she has been selected from among 7,000 applicants for an internship at the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, Md. She will spend eight weeks this summer working in the NIH Clinical Center Department of Radiology and Imaging Sciences, Nuclear Medicine Section. “This is a dream internship for anybody interested in working in medicine,” Laura says. “Obviously this is a huge opportunity for me.”
Laura applied for the internship in early December. She submitted her cover letter, curriculum vitae, relevant classes, and letters of recommendation written by Dr. Chris Lorentz and Dr. Shannon Galbraith-Kent. “She (Laura) has extremely high potential and sometimes you ‘just know’ when a student is destined for great things—she is one of them,” says Galbraith-Kent. Lorentz seconds that sentiment, “Beyond the classroom, Laura is a varsity student-athlete and participates in numerous co-curricular, community service and other volunteer activities, evidence of her outstanding time-management skills, work ethic, and dedication.”
Originally, Laura was a nursing major but one class changed her mind. “We cloned a yeast gene in my molecular genetics class and I was hooked,” she recalls. “I want to understand the science behind things—the pathological and biological processes.” She will be doing just that this summer for the largest biomedical research facility in the world. The NIH is credited with the discovery of countless scientific breakthroughs such as using fluoride to prevent tooth decay, the use of lithium to manage bi-polar disorder, and a drug therapy for breast cancer that cuts the risk of recurrence, to name a few.
Laura will be studying important research at ground zero this summer as she works alongside a doctor who specializes in genetics research, a field that particularly interests her. She is currently considering whether medical school might be in her future. One thing is certain—her future is extremely bright, although Laura Felix is far too humble to admit it.