I chose Bucknell because I wanted the opportunity to get to know my professors and not just be a face in the crowd. I've found that here — 100 percent.

Sophie Kong '19
Photo by Emily Paine, Division of Communications

"In high school I played volleyball pretty competitively — I was actually on my way to a volleyball tournament the first time I visited Bucknell. I can't say I was as passionate about academics back then, but once I came here and started getting to know my professors, I saw how much they care about what they teach, and it inspired me to pursue cell biology and biochemistry. Now I hope to get my Ph.D. in a similar field.

"I'm doing research with three different professors: Mike Krout, Tim Strein and David Rovnyak. We're studying bile salts, which are naturally occurring substances found in your body. I begin by synthesizing bile salts in Professor Krout's lab, then I take them down to Professor Strein and Rovnyak's labs and we do analytical work. It's been a great learning experience because I get three different points of view from three very different parts of chemistry. I've also realized how hands-on and fun the lab can be. It's become my thing, and ever since then, I've tried to connect what I learn in classes with lab work.

"The experience I've gained with the equipment and resources here have also prepared me for opportunities outside Bucknell. I'll be participating in a chemical biology internship program at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center — and I think that my research and advisers played a tremendous role in helping me get this opportunity. There are so many opportunities that you get at Bucknell, like research, that would be much harder to find at a larger university."

"I've kept up with volleyball as one of the captains for the club team. Even though I don't play as competitively as I did in high school, there are still girls who are really good at volleyball here, and we get the opportunity to show that at tournaments. It's a great way to meet people from different classes and majors who I might not meet otherwise.

"I also work at the Teaching & Learning Center, where I lead study groups for organic chemistry, general chemistry and principles of chemistry. It's rewarding to see first-year students transition into the college mindset and notice how their thinking process evolves. I always encourage them to talk to their professors often. I think the best thing about Bucknell is how close you can get with your professors since their offices are always open."

Sophie is from Dayton, N.J.

Posted April 2018