Today’s Tuesday with Tulsa blog post comes to us from Meghana R., a biology/pre-med major from Tulsa, Okla.
Hi everybody! After a really relaxing Spring Break, it’s time to make that final push to the end of another great semester! I actually picked up my enrollment card the other day and when asked about my graduation date (May 2015- 395 days away!), I couldn’t believe that it was finally my turn to be a senior! I only have one more year to take advantage of all the fun times and meaningful experiences TU has to offer. One such meaningful experience is building great relationships with my amazing professors, of which TU has no shortage.
One of my favorite professors is Dr. Estelle Levetin. I have been doing research in her lab since the summer before my freshman year and am currently in her Medical Botany class. Because I always knew that I wanted to do undergraduate research and because I live in Tulsa and didn’t want to bum around at home for the entire summer, I thought it would be fun to get a head start and begin research before my freshman year even started. I had no idea it would be so easy to get involved; I looked up the TU Biology Department on the TU website, found out that she was the department chair and sent her a cold e-mail asking if there were any research labs in which I could get involved. Not only did she kindly and promptly reply, she said she would be more than happy to let me work in her lab or any other lab with interests that matched my own. She was so inviting that I said I would be more than happy to work in her lab and I have been there ever since!
This chance encounter has lead to me participating in TURC (Tulsa Undergraduate Research Challenge) for two consecutive summers and completing 3 credit hours of research through her lab. Her primary research focus is aerobiology in which she specializes in airborne allergens. I do research on Alternaria, a fungal spore known to cause allergies and asthma. I plan on practicing medicine and hopefully working in pediatrics, so my research provides me with excellent background knowledge on one of the leading causes of respiratory illness. TU also sponsors a Research Colloquium each year. I presented last year, and will do so again in a few days! It’s a great opportunity to practice public speaking and showcase the labors of your research (as well as possibly win some dough!). Because I now have 15 years worth of data, Prof. Levetin is planning on having me publish a paper and present at a conference next year! As far as undergraduate research goes, these two things are the hallmarks of the whole experience.
Dr. Levetin has been my go-to professor on campus since my freshman year. Because she’s the Biology department chair and was formerly one of the main pre-med advisors, I usually consult with my advisor and her before making any academic decisions. I know that I can always go to her with any concerns I might have or for any and all advice. She’s highly devoted to her work and her students. Whenever I speak with her, it seems as if she drops everything she’s doing to help me. I have no idea how she manages to give me so much time and attention, as well as the whole Biology department.
I have gained so much from being at TU and much of that can be attributed to Dr. Levetin. She’s provided me with so much guidance and support these past three years that I really can’t thank her enough! So here’s my advice for incoming freshman – befriend your professors and make a really close connection with at least a couple of them – they all lead very interesting lives and can lead you to success in your own life!