GVSU runs in Kayleigh McCollum’s family, as her dad and great uncle are both Laker alums. But the Muskegon native didn’t choose the PSM program in Cell and Molecular Biology at Grand Valley just because of her bloodlines, she also knew of the high job placement rates of program graduates and was enchanted by the beautiful campus. When her original plans to become a dentist changed after a job shadowing experience, she found a love for DNA in a final semester advanced genetics course and turned to the PSM program in Cell and Molecular Biology.
Kayleigh’s undergraduate coursework at Madonna University was great preparation for the CMB program, and a study abroad trip to Costa Rica showed her what research was really like out in the field. Kayleigh did her internship with Dr. Sangeeta Yendrembam in the Department of Obstetrics, Gynecology, and Reproductive Biology at MSU, where she learned a lot about the research environment, gained hands on laboratory experience, and began to understand what type of industry she wanted to work in. Although it was important to learn technical skills, Kayleigh also benefitted from soft skill development and learned more about herself as a worker.
Kayleigh’s most memorable moments in the PSM program involve long hours spent in the lab with her classmates, especially all those Nucleic Acids experiments that never seemed to go as planned. Kayleigh is current employed part-time at Northern Biomedical Research studying neurodegenerative diseases, and will switch to full-time upon graduation. Ultimately, she hopes to get an opportunity to work in pediatric oncology, maybe at St. Jude Children’s Research hospital!