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Virginia Greenberger


Hometown: Kalamazoo, MI
Major: Chemistry
Concentration: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Study Abroad: Ecuador (EE)
Favorite Ice Cream Flavor: Chocolate with Brownies
Best Adjective to Describe You: Super Goofy

In 10 words or less, why should a student want to be involved in this department?
Chemistry describes why things are, and has the best professors!

What initially drew you to this department?  What keeps you coming back?
Initially, I wanted to do biology but organic chemistry changed my mind!  I realized that chemistry really describes how life processes work and can be applied to almost everything!  I love to know why things are.  The new perspectives I gain on everything from fireworks to diseases, from the fun, interactive and dedicated professors keep me coming back. 

What’s your biggest piece of advice to first years and sophomores in this department?
Stay organized and enthusiastic!  Never lose that spark and excitement you started with.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions. 

How does your department connect to your other interests and activities?
My other interests are Spanish and teaching.  My PI, professor, advisor, boss and friend, Dr. Truss, spent her younger years in Panama so we are able to talk in Spanish and the department always encourages studying abroad.  As far as teaching goes, I have been a teaching assistant in the chemistry labs and classroom for every quarter that I have been on campus since sophomore year.  I also teach math and science camps for kids over the summer. 

What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned at K?
How spoiled we are with the number of opportunities and amount of support we have.

What has been your favorite class at K?  Why?
Some people may think I am crazy, but my favorite class here has been Calc II with Dr. Barth. 

What is your SIP?
My SIP title will be something along the lines of “An exploration of the antibiotic properties and mode of action of cationic peptides with an amphipathic alpha helix structure.”  Basically I mix stuff with bacteria and see if (hope) they die and try to figure out why.  I am working with Dr. Truss in Dow. 

What are your career aspirations/next steps after K?
My current plan is to apply to medicinal chemistry graduate programs and get my Ph.D.  I really like the idea of finding the next penicillin that hopefully is never resisted.  If not that, I am going to try to become a teacher to inspire future generations to do even greater things.

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