CAFNR Senior Spotlight – Kaylee Lewis

Lewis is a senior graduating in May with a degree in biochemistry

Kaylee Lewis

Why did you choose to come to the University of Missouri? Why did you choose to pursue a degree in biochemistry?

As a young girl who grew up around the agriculture industry, I was exposed to the University of Missouri many times before I was able to call myself a Tiger! Crazily enough, Mizzou was the only college I applied to as it is exactly where I knew I wanted to go. CAFNR combines two of my favorite things: science and agriculture. So biochem was an easy choice for me! Biochem curriculum, faculty, and students have helped me to graduation as well as to plan my future. I will always be proud to be a Tiger!

Did you partake in any research, study abroad or internship opportunities? What did you enjoy about those experiences?

At a time when all communities were struggling in 2020, I was a part of a research lab at Show Me Ethanol, in Carrollton, Missouri, that was trying to convert their fuel-based product into hand sanitizer grade ethanol to aid in the world pandemic affecting us all. Through this opportunity I was able to help design laboratory methods to meet FDA and USP guidelines for the facility in order to develop a product that would help families, just like my own. Although indirect, I feel the work we were doing was a small step in the right direction of fighting a major virus affecting healthcare. It was great to be able to intern in a lab that was making strides to make communities safer. All of this was possible because of my experience in biochem, here at Mizzou!

What is a favorite memory you have during your time in CAFNR?

Who doesn’t love chips, salsa, and convos? My fellow senior biochem majors and I sure do. We had a great meal and conversation with one of our favorite biochem professors, Dr. Freyermuth, at Las Margaritas downtown! A memory I will never forget! That is just a glimpse in how close our small major has become over the years, how much biochem faculty invest in and care about their students, and that yes, STEM majors have fun too! I would strongly suggest any future student interested in biochem to join the major here at Mizzou. I will be forever grateful for my experience!

How did your degree program prepare you for the future?

My degree program has helped me to prepare for my future in many ways! The curriculum is no joke, but it has taught me how to study and retain information quickly and effectively. I have also been fortunate to find professors and advisors that have helped me to plan for my future and answer any questions that may arise. I am very lucky to have had an amazing biochem experience and am so proud to be a Tiger!

What are your future plans?

We all have a part to play. I’m a first-generation college student from rural Missouri who knows first-hand the health disparities experienced by my family, friends, community, and those alike. They are a part of the big picture of why I continue to study, put in the time and energy, volunteer, shadow, and hope to aid in bridging the gap between rural communities and healthcare. My future plans are to start at the University of Missouri Medical School in the fall through the Bryant Scholars program and progress to serve those around me. Thanks to my start at the University of Missouri in biochem, I am able to keep working towards my dream!