Barry McNamara  |   Published October 03, 2016

Loving the lab

Through unique opportunities, Davila ’17 does chemistry research year-round
  • Jasmine Davila ’17 has aspirations to use her biochemistry major to open the door to medical school and beyond.
Working in a chemistry lab is a passion of Monmouth College’s Jasmine Davila ’17 of Moline, Ill., and not only when classes are in session.

Every summer since the eve of her matriculation at Monmouth, she has sought out additional scientific research experiences. Davila’s most recent summer session was spent at the University of Illinois, where she worked in electron chemistry.

“I was primarily characterizing chemicals, so I was doing more measurements and computer work, analyzing computer spreadsheets, that type of thing,” she said. “The program also really helped me with my professional skills. We had meetings every Friday, and I had to prepare slides about what I had learned during the week and present them to our group.”

Davila said the experience helped make her decision to go to medical school “more concrete.”

A biochemistry major, Davila plans to use medical school as a way to merge her interests in polymer research and material science.

“I would like to combine them, working with materials that can be used in the medical field,” she said.

In summer 2013, Davila was among the first students to use the College’s new Center for Science and Business; she spent part of the summer working on a Summer Opportunity for Intellectual Activity project with Professor Laura Moore. She stayed on campus the next summer to participate in the College’s prestigious Kieft Summer Research Program.

Last year, Davila studied at Southern Mississippi University, where her research earned first place in competition with a dozen other Research Experience for Undergraduates students. That earned her a trip to San Diego, where her poster again took top honors, this time at the 251st American Chemical Society National Meeting & Exposition.

Davila has had STEM aspirations for much of her academic career. She spent her final three years of high school at the Illinois Mathematics and Science Academy. She visited Monmouth on a scholarship day and was impressed by the science faculty.   “Professor Moore has been a huge help and motivating factor in my Monmouth College education, pursuit of research and, ultimately, my future career,” said Davila. “I came into college knowing I wanted to do research and possibly become a doctor, but Dr. Moore really helped me get there. She has always been there to provide guidance and support my research and academic endeavors and is always looking out for the best for me. She pushes me to put my best foot forward, supports me and gives me the freedom to make my own choices, which is everything anyone could ever ask for in an adviser.”

During her final year at Monmouth, Davila will continue the research she started with Moore, isolating a protein for E coli. She’ll study it with the atomic force microscope – a tool not yet available on campus when she began the research. She will also be busy applying to medical schools.
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