2015 Honor Society Inductees S-Z

A-C   D-F   G-K   L-M   N-R  S-Z

Jessica Scales
Jessica ScalesJessica first became interested in research when she started working in the laboratory of Dr. Jill B. Keeney at Juniata College. Jessica focused her research on characterizing host cell regulators of the Ty1 retrotransposon in Saccharomyces cerevisiae. She is currently a senior at Juniata College, a small liberal arts institution in Pennsylvania, with an academic focus in Biology. Jessica will be writing her senior thesis on the research she has conducted in Dr. Keeney's lab throughout her undergraduate career. Jessica is a member of several clubs and honor societies on campus, including Tri-Beta and Omicron Delta Kappa. She is also a tutor and teaching assistant for the Department of Biology. Following graduation, Jessica plans to attend graduate school to obtain a Ph.D. in virology, immunology, or pathology. Jessica will be taking a gap-year to better determine the type of research field she will specialize in as a graduate student and hopes to fill this year with new research experiences. Outside of academics, Jessica cherishes time spent with her family, the occasional trips to the beach, and playing the piano.



Neha Shafique
Wesleyan University



Juliana Shaw
Juliana ShawJuliana first became interested in science as a young child by playing out in the backyard, looking at the star constellations at night, and pretending she was a doctor. Science has always been a huge interest of hers, but it wasn’t until she got experience as an undergraduate researcher that she knew she wanted to pursue a career as a scientist. Besides the ASBMB chapter on campus, she is also part of Alpha Sigma Alpha Sorority, Gamma Iota Chapter, the RIT Honors Program and the Research Scholars Program in the College of Science at RIT

Juliana plans on earning her PhD in biochemistry in order to carry out research that could have a huge impact on medicine, while also spreading her passion and knowledge in Biochemistry to young scientists. For fun, she likes to read, watch Netflix, and spend time with her friends. Since her freshman year, she has been studying proteins in Nontypeable Haemophilus influenzae and Escherichia coli that could possibly be used in therapeutics for ear infections and sepsis, respectively, in the future. ASBMB has given her the opportunity to experience the research going on at other universities by bringing in local speakers, and it has also been a way for her to get to know fellow biochemists.



Allen Smith
Allen grew up in Plumerville, a small town in central Arkansas. His interest in the sciences, especially medicine, began to develop when his father was diagnosed as a type II diabetic. Observing firsthand the tight regimen of medications and insulin injections that quickly became a dailyritual for his father gave Allen a sincere desire to join the medical field. His mother helped cultivate his interests, exposing him to various healthcare professions through internships and scientific projects. This properly equipped him to recognize his zeal for metabolic research when he began attending HendrixCollege. Allen plans to pursue these interests as a PhD student in graduate school. During his time at Hendrix, he has been involved in the ASBMB BCMB club, Active Minds, the Hendrix Biological Society, and several different research projects on campus. Whenever he has free time, he enjoys playing in his band at many local venues, including the charity events held by Arkansas Music United. He also enjoys hiking with friends and family, watching movies, and participating as an amateur astronomer. 

Allen especially appreciates his membership to ASBMB as it has provided him with the opportunity to conduct grant-funded research through the ASBMB undergraduate research award. To have this much involvement in a research project gave him an invaluable introduction into the world of scientific research. With this experience behind him, Allen feels better prepared when it comes to the career path he has chosen.



Ronald Smith
Ronald SmithRonald’s interest in science originated when he was first able to read. The books he chose involved definite facts or involved science fiction. His passion for science continued throughout his years as a student. When he reached the college level, he decided to major in biochemistry/molecular biology and physics in order to maintain his interest in many aspects of science.

Outside of class, Allen is involved in various extracurricular activities which include choir, co-president of Habitat for Humanity, first-year peer mentor, Cardinal Science peer mentor, president of American Chemical Society, research, teaching assistant for Organic Chemistry, and various science outreach programs. He is also a member of Alpha Lambda Delta/Phi Eta Sigma honors society and Torch and Key honors society. At Otterbein, he is performing research trying to determine if the mutation rate of achlorophyllous orchids is greater than chlorophyllous orchids with respect to the chloroplasts genome.

His desire to help students understand and enjoy science along with his drive to understand new aspects of science has led to his career aspirations of becoming a professor. During his time at Otterbein University, his favorite class was organic chemistry. As a result, he plans to attend graduate school for organic chemistry and to become a professor. Aside from school, he enjoys hiking, traveling, singing, woodworking, boating, swimming, water skiing, cliff diving and much more. Being a member of ASBMB has allowed him to connect with various people who have assisted him in his quest for knowledge.



Thomas Spradley
Ples SpradleyPles has been interested in science for as long as he can remember. His interest in living things began while growing up exploring the woods of Arkansas.  However, as he moved through school, he was attracted more and more to chemistry.  His interest in science stems from an unquenchable curiosity about the natural world.

His main extracurricular activity at Hendrix College is serving for the past three years as an executive member on the Campus Kitty Committee, which is a philanthropic, student organization.  Campus Kitty hosts events throughout the year to raise money for and awareness of charitable organizations in central Arkansas.  Last year, the organization donated $40,750 to eleven organizations. Ples has recently been accepted to medical school, so he hopes to become a physician in a few years. In his free time, he likes hiking, fishing, running, and playing the piano. He is not currently involved in research, but for the past two summers, he has worked with Dr. Randy Kopper at Hendrix College to study variation of venom between individual coral snakes. He is really excited and honored to be an inductee in Chi Omega Lambda this year.



Robert Sterner
Robert SternerRobert Sterner grew up on a family farm in Iowa. At an early age, he found that science and medicine were integral parts of his daily life. From taking care of livestock to the complicated genetics of modern seed, Sterner recognized the importance of science and medicine and focused on those studies. As an undergraduate at Drake University, he is pursing majors in biochemistry, cell and molecular biology, chemistry, and biology. He is a participant in the Drake Honors Program.

Sterner is the recipient of the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education for 2014-2016. Drawn to cell biology research, Sterner investigates the distribution of cytoskeletal proteins as well as their structure through NMR solution studies in the ciliated protist Tetrahymena thermophila. Another research interest is computational chemistry where the focus is on the use of molecular dynamics simulations in conjunction with the weighted ensemble approach to simulate the domain motions of the calcium binding protein calmodulin, and will ultimately lead to the comparison of these simulations of calmodulin to NMR relaxation data. 

On campus, Sterner is president of the Drake Chapter for the ASBMB chapter and serves on the Biochemistry, Cell, and Molecular Biology Student Advisory Board. He also mentors ASBMB underclassmen. Sterner plans to continue research and studies in science and medicine at the graduate level.



Molly Strong
Molly StrongResearch has been a constant motivation throughout Molly’s undergraduate career. Her research interests stem from her desire to understand the inner workings of the body. Arguably the most complex machine available to study, the human body employs mechanisms and pathways that are truly fascinating. Her current research is studying various phosphorylation sites on a protein called the Sodium Hydrogen Exchanger Isoform 1 (NHE1). Her contribution focused on how the ERK cell-signaling pathway affects NHE1 activation. She was able to observe a decrease in NHE1 function by altering the primary structure of NHE1 where ERK is believed to interact. Deregulation of NHE1 activity aids in the metastatic nature of many cancers, therefore NHE1 has become a potential therapeutic target. While not conducting research, she stays extremely busy as vice-president of Beta Beta Beta Biological Honors Society and as a member of school’s varsity women's soccer and track and field teams.  After graduating, Molly plans to attend a biomedical graduate school or a professional school with a major focus on research. These career fields will allow her to combine her passion for the inner working of the body to a meaningful profession. Being a member of the ASBMB has benefited her in many ways. Through local and national meetings, she has gained the ability to communicate my findings, which is arguably as important as conducting the research itself. These meetings served to foster an appreciation for clear and precise communication, but also to motivate her to keep moving towards her goals.