LILLIAN HUCKE ’24  |   Published September 15, 2021

Student Profile: Gabriela Peterson

Chemistry and political science junior runs the lab and runs miles for Scots.

MONMOUTH, Ill.Gabriela Peterson ’23 spent her summer at Monmouth College researching propolis, a substance that bees produce, under the guidance of chemistry professor Audra Goach.

GABRIELA PETERSON: Junior from Southwick, Massachusetts, was a Kieft Summer Research Program part... GABRIELA PETERSON: Junior from Southwick, Massachusetts, was a Kieft Summer Research Program participant this year.A chemistry and political science major, Peterson worked eight hours a day in the lab over eight weeks. Her love of Monmouth College, her desire to practice high-level research, and the presence of supportive professors led Peterson to joining the College’s Kieft Summer Research Program, where she was one 12 students participating.

“My senior research mentor had just graduated, so I wanted to learn how to take my own direction with the research instead of having no clue what to do when I showed up for the semester,” she said.

Peterson performed independent research on how propolis acts as an antibacterial. Goach mentored Peterson, presenting her with difficult questions about the field of analytical chemistry.

Peterson said Monmouth’s professors are very accessible and passionate about their studies and their students. She was grateful to be able to learn from Goach about the different techniques in the lab and develop a deeper understanding of analytical chemistry.

“Gabriela has a lot of inner motivation to work and has taken the initiative to dive into the research journals. She can often be found in the lab outside of her lab hours, because she truly enjoys learning.” Audra Goach

“I feel that everyone in the chemistry and biochemistry departments are very close, and we can reach out to one another,” she said. “I’m able to form study groups with my peers very easily, because we all know that we need each other to succeed. We are more powerful together.”

“Gabriela has a lot of inner motivation to work and has taken the initiative to dive into the research journals,” said Goach. “She can often be found in the lab outside of her lab hours, because she truly enjoys learning.”

In Peterson’s eyes, the summer research was challenging and demanding, but also fun and rewarding. At the end of the eight weeks, she presented her research in a similar fashion that research is presented at the American Chemical Society national conference.

 

Going the extra miles

When Peterson was not performing experiments or running tests, she was practicing yoga, going on walks or bike rides with friends, or training for competition.

“I came to Monmouth because of the personalized attention and care I can receive at such a small school. The professors and coaches are truly dedicated to helping me grow as a student, athlete and person.” – Gabriela Peterson

The junior from Southwick, Massachusetts, is a member of the Fighting Scots’ cross country and track teams. Her summer routine was to get up early and log several miles on a training run before heading to the lab. She said her goals for her junior season are to “not worry so much about the numbers.”

“At the end of the day, going to college here is a blessing, so I try not to stress myself out too much and just enjoy it,” said Peterson.

Although far from the upper East coast, Peterson feels at home at Monmouth because of the campus buildings, the small class sizes, and the students, professors and coaches.

“I came to Monmouth because of the personalized attention and care I can receive at such a small school,” she said. “The professors and coaches are truly dedicated to helping me grow as a student, athlete and person.”

Peterson said Monmouth’s financial aid offer was much better than other schools, helping her attend college on a “beautiful” campus at a low cost. She was also attracted by the many opportunities to become involved.

“At Monmouth, students make life engaging by hosting so many enjoyable activities and events that make me excited to go to school here every day,” she said. “There is always something fun going on, like sports, art workshops and club events.”

After she graduates, Peterson plans to go to law school and study environmental law.

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