A Student's Passion for Research Yields New Opportunities

Published on 13 June 2018

P2 student Marissa Chow hopes to pursue a career in pharmacy, academia and research, and she is putting her passion to work beyond the classroom.

“My favorite aspect of the research process is solving the challenges and problems that can arise,” said Chow. “The idea that the research I am conducting can have an impact in the real world is both motivating and inspiring.”

For the last three years, Chow has assisted Melanie VanDyke, Ph.D., associate professor of psychology, with research that examines medication hoarding and the specific factors that may contribute to it. Chow performs a variety of tasks throughout the research process from the collection of background information to data entry to various writing assignments.

“Dr. VanDyke has included me in all aspects of her research,” noted Chow. “I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to learn in such a hands-on environment.”

In 2017, Chow’s interest in research led her to serve as a volunteer for the St. Louis Area Undergraduate Research Symposium (STLAURS). STLAURS is a student-run, symposium that supports and promotes undergraduate research across the St. Louis region. Each year, students from the College and other regional institutions present their research to other students, faculty and a panel of judges who provide constructive feedback as well as awards to top performers.

“I thought STLAURS was an amazing organization to be involved in when I first volunteered,” remarked Chow. “It is a great opportunity for students to interact with peers from other schools, gain real research experience and learn what to expect from a professional research conference.”

Chow was so inspired by her experience as a volunteer with STLAURS that she took on the responsibility of planning and directing the 2018 symposium. Under her leadership, the symposium was hosted at the College for the first time in its 14-year history.

“I was honored to have the opportunity to direct the event this year,” said Chow. “The College has such beautiful new facilities, and we were excited for the opportunity to show them off to other institutions, members of the community and potential students.”

As faculty advisor of the STLAURS Organization Board, Jasmina Profirovic, Ph.D., associate professor of pharmacology, worked with Chow to plan the symposium and was impressed with her deep passion for research.

“Marissa is very passionate about research and the promotion of research among students,” said Profirovic. “She worked hard to ensure that every aspect of the event was executed in the best possible way for the benefit of the participants and their projects.”

With the symposium now behind her, Chow is focused on the creation of a tool designed to help students who are interested in research get started on their own projects.

“The tool will include basic research resources including an overview of statistics basics and tips on writing successful research questions,” explained Chow. “These skills are vital to starting a successful research project.”

Chow’s curiosity and passion for pharmacy and research has brought many opportunities her way. While she is early in her pharmacy career, she has confidence in the path she has chosen.

“I hope to continue working on research and other projects as I continue my studies and throughout my career,” stated Chow. “It is a very exciting time to be entering the pharmacy profession, and I look forward to what the future holds.”

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