Graduate Profile: Kelsey Hughes
Kelsey Hughes ’09 was attracted to Alma College’s biochemistry program like a proton is attracted to an electron.
“I’ve always sort of been on the border right between chemistry and biology, so biochemistry was the perfect combination of both of my interests,” she says. “Alma also felt right to me. As soon as I set foot on campus, I felt at home. When I visited with professors and students, that feeling was only reinforced.”
Now a graduate student studying molecular biology at Princeton University, Hughes is no stranger to the lab. At Alma, she worked on several research projects with faculty members. She also spent a summer at the University of Michigan through the National Science Foundation Research Experience for Undergraduates program.
“My Alma experience gave me a lot of experience doing research and a solid foundation in science that I have been able to build on in graduate school,” she says. “One of the things I love most about Alma is the willingness and availability of professors to supervise research projects, which was crucial in my decision to pursue scientific research through graduate study.”
In addition to developing mentor-student relationships with several faculty members, Hughes made meaningful connections through her involvement with several other student organizations, including Chemistry Club and Phi Sigma Sigma.
“Through these organizations, I developed leadership skills,” she says. “I also made many deep friendships with other students.”
While Hughes loves exploring new scientific techniques in graduate school and applying her research to her thesis, without Alma, she says graduate school would have never been on her radar.
“As a freshman, I knew I wasn’t particularly interested in going to medical school, but I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do after Alma,” she says. “Through my involvement in Chemistry Club, I made friends with a number of juniors and seniors who all went onto different career paths, including graduate school. Later, I combined what I learned from my friends with advice from faculty members, and I knew graduate school was the right path.”