Senior Spotlight: Laura Valencia

Valencia will graduate with a degree in biochemistry

Growing up in Columbia, Laura Valencia always loved the University of Missouri. She had a chance to officially become a Tiger when she transferred to Mizzou in 2018. As she heads toward graduation, Valencia said her time at MU has been incredible.

“My favorite memories at Mizzou include all of the homecoming festivities over the years, the late nights studying at Ellis, getting coffee at Memorial Union, and attending the football and basketball games,” Valencia said. “I also really enjoyed going to the student center before the pandemic hit.”

When Valencia graduates in May, she will earn a degree in biochemistry.

“I decided to major in biochemistry because I love science and it was an interesting area that I did not know much about,” Valencia said. “I figured it would also give me different career opportunities and flexibility if I changed my mind about what I wanted to pursue.”

As a transfer student, Valencia said that the faculty in biochemistry were very important in helping her find her footing. Her undergraduate advisor, Shari Freyermuth, an associate teaching professor of biochemistry, also made the transition easier.

“It has been a wonderful experience working with faculty in the biochemistry program,” Valencia said. “When I got to Mizzou before the 2018 spring semester, it was a big adjustment. Dr. Freyermuth helped me plan the rest of my semesters and gave me amazing advice that helped me persevere these last three years. All the professors want us to learn as much as we can, and for that I will always be grateful!”

CAFNR Career Services played an important role in her education, Valencia said, especially when it came to preparing for her future.

“CAFNR has a phenomenal career services department, and while I personally did not get to use these services as much as I would have liked, I did get resume help there,” Valencia said. “While this is a small step, I feel like it gave me the tools to continue polishing my resume in the future.”

Valencia said that current CAFNR students should take advantage of the various offerings that the College offers. She added that students should also look to join the great clubs and organizations offered through CAFNR.

“I would tell incoming freshmen to get involved in as many organizations as they possibly can,” Valencia said. “That is something I wish I would’ve done more of, because you really get to experience campus life and meet new friends that way. I would tell current students to really take advantage of all the workshops CAFNR provides, the career fairs and the career services they offer.”

The biochemistry degree opens up numerous opportunities for students who go through the program. Career opportunities include employment in the world of medicine, biotechnology, agriculture and government. That was a major reason that Valencia enjoyed the program as much as she did.

“I will actually be taking a gap year after graduation, but I plan to pursue a doctorate of physical therapy degree, so I will be working on applying to programs this summer and fall,” Valencia said.