Biochem major sets her sights on Ph.D.

Senior Amber Kelley may have arrived at Berry undecided about her trajectory in life, but she will be graduating in spring on a definite path toward becoming a medical chemistry researcher.

Amber came to Berry for the community, the small class sizes and the beautiful campus but didn’t really know what she wanted to study. She knew she loved science, but it wasn’t until she took organic chemistry her sophomore year that she really got hooked.

Once she found her niche, Amber put her science education to use. In addition to researching in the lab with faculty, she published research findings in Berry’s scientific journal, presented at the Symposium on Student Scholarship and later in the spring will head to the National American Chemical Society conference with a group of students and faculty.

The one person who had the greatest impact on Amber’s intellectual development and love of chemistry was Associate Professor of Chemistry Lindsey Davis. In addition to being her student, Amber also worked with Davis as a research assistant and later studied abroad with Davis in Paris.

Amber also worked as a mentor to first-year students to help them to see the potential in themselves and in their college future. The opportunity to step into a leadership role prepared Amber for her future through relationship building and personal development.

“The community is great…The professors, the students…just build a community that’s so much better than I think you’d find anywhere else,” Amber says. “There’re so many different things that you can do…I feel like you just hear about so many more things because we’re a closer community and have the opportunity to be exposed to things that you may not see at bigger institutions.”

Next up for Amber is a Ph.D. so she can continue her work with organic and medicinal chemistry through drug development, with a focus on cancer treatments. She has been admitted to programs at University of Virginia, the University of Alabama at Birmingham and Clemson so far, but is still considering her options.

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