Duke benefits from alumna’s research

Meet Katie Clark, a former Greensboro College honors student who graduated in Spring 2019. Clark received her B.S. in Biology and continued to pursue her love for science in a laboratory working on a hands-on program that could be life-changing for patients. Clark is now a Research Technician II at Duke University in the neurobiology department studying temporal lobe epilepsy in Dr. McNamara’s laboratory. Clark works with a model system (mice) helping to discover a treatment plan for epileptic patients by conducting biochemical assays.

The Collegian: What is life like as a research technician in the department of neurobiology?

Katie Clark: Life as a research technician is intellectually challenging, fast-paced and requires a lot of persistence and patience to execute various experiments. I conduct experiments dealing with mice models performing surgeries to implant electrodes, read EEG readings, DNA purification and biochemical assays.

The Collegian: How did Greensboro College help you prepare to become a research technician?

Clark: The honors program, the biology department and my advisor Dr. Sharpe at [Greensboro College] prepared me to become a research technician by providing me with the opportunity to not only conduct but create a research course for honors and non-honors students. I wrote an honors thesis paper about conducting various laboratory techniques and models which prepared me for the rigorous laboratory training/timing/interactions I encounter now. The biology courses, labs and professors at [Greensboro College] want every student to succeed and the one-on-one interactions I received during my time at GC helped prepare me for my new life as a research tech now.

The Collegian: Why did you choose Duke University?

Clark: I chose to attend/apply to Duke University because of its intelligently challenging environment, surrounded by ambitious people and creative collaborations. I wanted to contribute bench-side research studying epilepsy to bed-side medicine. Go Blue Devils!

The Collegian: Since graduating, how do you view Greensboro College?

Clark: [Greensboro College] provided me with the one-on-one training and assistance I would [have] never received from a big state school. I loved my experience at GC for providing me with rigorous courses, encouraging professors/advisors, and life-long friends.

The Collegian: What do you do in your spare time?

Clark: In my spare time I am working on my fitness by trying new workout classes. I love trying to make new recipes, hiking and spending quality time with my friends.

The Collegian: What advice do you have for future college graduates going forward and potentially attending graduate school?

Clark: The key advice I would say is to never give up on yourself or get discouraged and gain as much experience as possible and be able to communicate efficiently. Apply early, early, early.

Katelyn “Katie” Clark working in Duke University’s laboratory.

Photo courtesy of Katelyn Clark

By Jackie Treadway