Undergraduate research leads to professional and personal growth

By Addie Nabholz ’25

Claire Strauel ’24 credits Wartburg College with challenging her through academics and teaching her through different opportunities and experiences. While at Wartburg, Strauel participated in Tri-Beta, Phi Eta Sigma, Dance Marathon, study abroad, the tutoring lab, and on-campus undergraduate research.

Originally from Jesup, Iowa, Strauel wasted no time in joining an undergraduate research project.

“Our research looked at how a specific enzyme can affect the progression of ovarian cancer. We’ve done a lot of analyzing to look at how that enzyme affects different proteins or how it adheres to different matrices,” said Strauel, the Outstanding Senior in Biochemistry. “During these two and a half years, we’ve been able to do a lot of really cool experiments and have had some significant results.”

Strauel learned a lot about herself through her research.

“Campus research has allowed me to like to spend a lot of time in the lab outside of classes doing different experiments. Having that time has helped me develop confidence in myself,” said Strauel. “I’ve gained a lot of skills, like problem-solving and the ability to communicate professionally with professors in the field.”

Claire Strauel

Both the professors and students at Wartburg have helped Strauel achieve success.“

I’ve had a lot of great mentors during my time at Wartburg, who have given me great advice. Specifically, Dr. Shawn Ellerbroek and Dr. Leilani Zart,” said Strauel. “I’d also say the people who I’ve gone to school with, like my peers and friends, have also helped push me to try new things and discover different paths for myself.”

Strauel believes this is a regular experience for students at Wartburg.

“A lot of people try different things outside their major, like going on service trips or taking different classes just to learn something new. That’s something I’ve seen on Wartburg’s campus and something that’s inspired me to do the same,” said Strauel.

But the classes and research are not what Strauel will miss the most.

“I’ll miss the tight-knit community, all the friends I’ve made, and just the friendly faces you see on campus every day. Wartburg definitely has a feeling of home for me now,” said Strauel.