Towards the end of my sophomore year at Oklahoma Christian, I was looking for a good excuse to stay in Oklahoma City to earn money for my next semester. At the time, I had no car, no money, no place to live and, most importantly, no job.
Dr. Fowler, then the chairman of the College of Science and Engineering, suggested that I look into a new program, a summer research program. The opportunity involved working in a research lab at the OU Health Sciences Center with an OC alumna and current faculty member, Molly Hill. At the time, I was working towards a biochemistry degree, and planning to attend medical school. I thought this was a good opportunity to see the other available options.
With some significant divine intervention, I was hired, found a place to live, and a ride to work every day, all within about 2 hours. I still thought this was a summer gig. It was much more.
Over the next two and a half years, I worked in Molly's lab at the Health Sciences Center, collaborating with labs at the Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation, as well as the Department of Microbiology at OUHSC. I also helped with the beginnings of an undergraduate research lab on the Oklahoma Christian campus. During my research years, I was involved with gene expression in mice, particularly the peroxisome proliferator activated receptors in the setting of endotoxemia. Our findings were reported inEndocrinology 138 (7): 3073-3076.
While working in the lab, I learned much more than science. I was exposed to a different aspect of medicine, as well as the art of networking with other professionals. I was allowed to explore my own ideas, and I enjoyed a certain level of autonomy on my projects.
I graduated OC and attended the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine, to complete my MD in 2000. I am currently in my third year of a family medicine residency, also at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center. I am presently serving as a chief resident at the program.
Although I do not plan to work in a lab again, I know that God sometimes has a different plan. If I were guaranteed that I would have the same quality experience I had at OC, I would willingly go. Molly knows were to find me if she needs a hand.