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Meet Liz McClusky

Liz McCluskey, BS Biological Sciences

Degree: BS in Biological Sciences ’20
Minor: Chemistry
Research Interests: Proteomics, allergy, inflammation
- Research Assistant, Lankenau Institute for Medical Research (LIMR)
- Bioanalytical Scientist, Janssen Pharmaceutica
- Bioassay Automation Engineer, GlaxoSmithKline
Extracurricular activities: Beta Beta Beta, URLs, JRA volunteer, Lab Volunteer, Tutor

What led you to choose your major?

I chose to be a bio major because in high school, I thought I wanted to be a doctor. I quickly realized during freshman year that the pre-med track was not for me. I thought about changing my major, but luckily I was in the honors track for intro biology! Taking the SEAPHAGES freshmen sequence gave me my first exposure to what research in my field was like, something I had never even thought of before. Now I still do not want to be a doctor, but a PhD! Over the next few years at Drexel, with the support and enthusiasm of so many of our professors, I was convinced that staying in bio was the right decision, and I can’t imagine my college experience any other way.

What motivates you?

My motivation to work hard to reach my goals comes from all the support I have around me. I’m a people person, so it’s been very helpful for me during my time at college to know that I have people rooting for me. I have my family and friends from home, of course, but closer by, my professors and mentors are always encouraging and kind. Working closely with my classmates towards our common goals with this support makes it easy to keep working against any obstacles. At Drexel, we get to be a part of a community, which can make hard times so much easier. No matter what discourages me, I can look to my friends who have gone through the same thing, or think about my younger friends who will have me as a resource when they reach this point, too.

How were your co-op experiences?

I feel so lucky to have had the co-op experiences I had! In each of them, my mentors taught me countless methods and theories relevant to my field including cell culturing, proteomics, immunobiology and automation. They also taught me valuable lessons about mental health and creating a work-life balance. In each of my co-ops, from academic research at LIMR to working in industry at Janssen and GSK, I was surrounded by a strong network of kind and intelligent people. I studied very different things in my co-ops, but each time was able to bring lessons from one to the next, and especially bring them back to classes.

What advice do you have for a high school student looking for an undergraduate program?

The best advice I could give high school students choosing their undergraduate programs is to make sure you feel at home. I think your comfort level is the most important aspect to your success in your program. Some students only look for the most reputable school with the biggest name. Drexel’s biology department is full of supportive faculty and graduate students willing to mentor you and set you up for success. On my Accepted Students Day, meeting the faculty and my fellow prospective students, I knew it was Drexel where I felt most at home, and that hasn’t changed since.

What are your goals for after graduation?

My long-term goals are to participate in research and hopefully have a hand in a life-saving treatment! In the meantime, I’d like to study for my PhD and work in the pharmaceutical industry. I didn’t know anyone in this field or what it was like before I started my co-ops, but my experiences allowed me to fall in love with it. The mentors I had on my co-ops gave me wonderful advice and guidance, helping me both form my goals and get on the path to achieve them.