Eikenberry collaborates with biochem peers

Studying chemistry at Cornell College includes many opportunities to collaborate with other students, whether that’s working together to apply their knowledge of organic chemistry in the lab, or forming a study group outside of class. Allison Eikenberry, a junior majoring in both chemistry and biochemistry and molecular biology, takes advantage of those opportunities.

Allison Eikenberry '21
Allison Eikenberry ’21

“The tight-knit group of chemistry and biochemistry and molecular biology majors make all of my chemistry classes enjoyable and allows us to work together to help each other succeed,” says Eikenberry.

Study groups are popular on the Hilltop. Because Cornellians only study one course for 18 days, it’s important that they have the ability to learn a concept fairly quickly. In order to absorb so much information in such a short time, they rely on one another for support.

Eikenberry experienced this first-hand when she took part in a research program at the University of Nebraska Medical Center this past summer. 

“I collected a lot more data than many of my peers in the short summer program because I was able to learn the lab techniques very quickly,” she says. “I owe my fast learning ability to the block plan.”

After she graduates, Eikenberry plans to continue her education and become a pharmacist. Choosing pharmacology as a career path was an interest, at first, but her time at Cornell has turned it into a passion. Advanced Organic Chemistry, taught by Professor of Chemistry Jai Shanata, was a key influence for her. At one point, the class was tasked with synthesizing a drug that would bind tightly to BSA (a protein found in the blood). Eikenberry’s group decided to perform multiple chemical reactions to alter the chemical structure of ibuprofen.

“It was truly exciting to be able to apply my organic chemistry knowledge in a setting that modeled the real world,” Eikenberry says. “The freedom and independence we were given in the lab provided me with an environment in which I was encouraged to make mistakes and think critically to figure out how to fix the mistake on my own.”