Cancer Research Fellow

Aditi Patel has a big-time crush on research.

In 2012, that love led her to apply to the “Short Course on the Genetics of Addiction,” a four-day conference meant for professionals, doctoral candidates, and graduate students.

Being a first-year student didn’t deter her.

“My adviser, Dr. Shawn Ellerbroek, thought it would be a great opportunity to meet other people in the field and learn a ton about genetics. We knew the chances of making it into the course were very slim,” she said, “but (Pathways Center career services adviser) Derek Solheim helped me build a résumé and went over my personal statement.”

Aditi was accepted and felt right at home. The experience also helped solidify her decision to pursue medicine and, more specifically, cancer research. Since then, Aditi has presented her research at the Experimental Biology Conference and completed two cancer research fellowships in Denver, Colorado.

 “Research has so many different opportunities, so being exposed to it this early on gives me a leg up on the playing field,” Aditi said.

Aditi also was a finalist for the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program; she earned an honorable mention.

“Every opportunity that’s been presented to me has been through Dr. Ellerbroek and the chemistry faculty members,” she continued. “The relationships I’ve built and the focus they have had on me has helped me get this far. I don’t think I could have done it without them.”

With their help, Aditi also has gained the confidence needed to apply for highly competitive medical school programs that will lead her to a career combining cancer research and clinical practice.

“I’ve grown as a person on this campus, not only personally, but from the influence of people around me,” she said. “I go to a school where people have similar future goals and the same drive as I do. 

“That’s been helpful, because when you surround yourself with people who think like you do you work just as hard as them. I want to be in an environment where I am challenged and pushed to be my best. That is what makes Wartburg worth it for me.”

Aditi Patel

Aditi Patel ’15