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Meet Hunter Timmons: Our July Leading Woman

Name: Hunter Timmons

Major: Biochemistry with minors in Biology and Microbiology

Hometown: Kennett, Missouri

What are your career/life goals? Currently, my main goal is to attend medical school after completing my undergraduate degree. Although I’m not entirely sure what area of medicine I want to go into, I hope to spend time working in rural areas. Coming from the Bootheel of Missouri, I have seen firsthand the healthcare disparities that rural areas often face. I hope to be able to use my passion for medicine to give back to communities like mine!

What is your favorite part about Biochemistry? / Tell us about why you chose your major? After my Junior year of high school, I was fortunate enough to attend a three-week program for molecular biology. This was the first time I got to experience anything related to research. While performing experiments in Stanford’s chemistry lab, I knew research was something that I wanted to pursue. Before I started college, a friend who went to Mizzou reached out and asked if I had considered majoring in biochemistry. Throughout our conversation, I decided that biochemistry was my best option to pursue my passion for medicine as well as research! I’m so thankful for my decision, as biochemistry has allowed me to meet some of my best friends and develop a deeper understanding and love for science than I could’ve ever imagined.

Why did you decide to get involved in research? I think that research is an essential part in learning biochemistry. It’s one thing to discuss topics and methods in lecture, but it is entirely different to put those procedures into practice. After finishing my freshman year, I decided that theoretical knowledge was not enough for me. I joined a biochemistry research lab in the Animal Science Research Center which has allowed me to gain hands-on experience in the field. My lab studies the role of estrogen and estrogen-receptors in a variety of conditions using a mouse model. I really love this type of research because the findings can frequently be applied to the medical field.

What is your favorite part about your research? In May, I began working on a two-year project with Dr. Lixing Reneker in the Ophthalmology department. We are investigating the role of estrogen and estrogen-receptors involved in dry-eye disease. Recently, I’ve been using microscopic dissection techniques to isolate lacrimal glands for further study. I’ve also been able to learn histology procedures in order to produce images of our samples. My favorite part of this research is that I’ve been able to learn lab skills used frequently in fields of science outside of biochemistry. I have also taken on a greater leadership role in the lab, and I am really enjoying being more involved in the planning process of our research!

What other organizations or hobbies are you passionate about? When I’m not studying or at the lab, you can usually find me reading or knitting (very poorly)! I spend most of my weekends lost in books in order to stop stressing about classes and work. I am also very passionate about music. I absolutely love live music, and Sara Stiens and I even went to the Missouri Symphony the other night. It was incredible! I can honestly say that I am passionate about almost everything I am doing at the moment, and I am very grateful for that.

How have your experiences in Theta changed you? Being in Theta has allowed me to grow into a person I never imagined I’d be. I’ve always been quite introverted, and I honestly wasn’t sure joining a sorority was for me. After joining Theta, I realized I finally had a community where I could be myself. Being surrounded by such strong, passionate women has encouraged me to come out of my shell and achieve more than I ever expected!

What does Theta mean to you? To me, Theta is a safe, supportive environment that encourages women to be their best selves. One where you can pursue your dreams without fear of failure or judgement.

Do you have any advice for incoming freshman? My advice for incoming freshmen is to attend as many Theta events and talk to as many people as possible. Before rushing, I was extremely nervous and hesitant because I wasn’t quite sure I would find a place where I fit in. After going to events and meeting people, I knew that I had nothing to worry about. I really missed getting to see everyone in person this year, and I cannot wait for events in the fall!

Do you have a specific favorite Theta memory? Most of my favorite memories come from living in-house with my roommate, Sara! Room 212 was the setting for some of our most stressful times, but also some of our happiest times. Weeks filled with frantic studying often ended with us ordering Bread Co and watching John Mulaney for hours. We would stay up until 2 a.m. talking about the world, or science, or whatever was bothering us. I am so thankful for all the fun times we had living in-house and to Theta for bringing us together!


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