Dominique Chevalier '12 received a National Institutes of Health (NIH) fellowship—the Intramural Research Training Award—working in the laboratory of reproductive and developmental toxicology in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Chevalier's team is investigating the effects of phytoestrogens—hormone-like chemicals found in plants—on human development. "It's medically relevant research because we are looking at concentrations equivalent to those found in infant formula," she said.
My biology professors and my advisor encouraged me to apply for the NIH fellowship and helped me get accepted. I wouldn't be here without support from professors Harry Itagaki, Chris Gillen, and Karen Hicks, and my graduate school and pre-professional advisor Maureen Tobin. The faculty and staff at Kenyon go out of their way to ensure the post-graduate success of their students, and Kenyon has a ton of resources—such as the Career Development Office—to help graduates find exciting opportunities.
The one-on-one time with my professors and the small but rigorous laboratory classes with no more than 15 students created the kind of intimate learning environment that really enhanced my learning. The "Developmental Biology" class I took from Dr. Hicks prepared me for the work I am doing now, and the year-long introductory class I took from Dr. Itagaki turned my interest in biological research and medicine into a passion.
I was recruited for swimming and thought Kenyon was the best place for me to balance athletics with academics. I had wanted to go to medical school since I was a hospital volunteer my senior year of high school and my uncle was diagnosed with cancer my freshman year of college. Kenyon has a very strong science program and a high rate of students accepted into medical schools. I thought it was the best place to prepare me for my career goals.