I want to help people through my passion for science

NAME: Katie Finnegan
HOMETOWN: Otho, Iowa 
MAJOR: Biochemistry

ON-CAMPUS INVOLVEMENT: Undergraduate research, Chemistry Club, Phi Eta Sigma, Tri Beta, Alpha Chi, Wartburg Ambassadors, Service Trips, Baldwin Fellows, and the Scholars Program

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE WARTBURG: I knew at the beginning of my college search that I wanted to find a college that was small and focused on getting a well-rounded education, rather than just pursuing my degree. During this search I toured many different colleges during my junior and senior years of high school, however, I never truly got the sense of home that I did at Wartburg anywhere else. All of the students went out of their way to say hello or help me, the staff was very accommodating, and the professors made every effort to meet and get to know me. When I found out that Wartburg had a great science program, which was what I was passionate about, the deal was pretty much sealed.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE YOUR MAJOR: I chose to pursue a biochemistry major because I wanted to use my education and skills to make a difference in other people’s lives through my passion for science. In particular, I wanted to help make a difference in the lives of people with cancer and type 1 diabetes, as many friends and family have had to battle these diseases. Biochemistry has allowed me to explore my interests in both chemistry and biology, while equipping me with the knowledge I need to pursue my goal.

Katie Finnegan

WHAT ARE YOUR PLANS AFTER GRADUATION: I am currently looking to pursue a master’s in genetic counseling.

HOW HAS YOUR WARTBURG EXPERIENCE PREPARED YOU FOR YOUR NEXT STEP: My education thus far has been wonderful. I find the material I am learning, both in and out of my science classes, interesting and relevant to my life now and in the future, which makes the work I put in very rewarding. In addition, Wartburg has provided me with incredible opportunities and hands-on experiences. Whether that means producing novel research, driving halfway across the country to participate in a service trip in Florida, or being in Christmas with Wartburg, I know that I have already begun to make a difference while learning to grow as a person and leader. Most importantly, Wartburg has become home. The professors make every effort to support me and the friends I have made will be ones that last a lifetime.  

HOW DO YOU BALANCE YOUR ACADEMICS WITH ALL OF YOUR ON-CAMPUS ACTIVITIES: Being involved and doing well in your studies is definitely possible and rewarding, but finding that balance can be really difficult! The best things to do are constantly work on your time management skills — which were definitely a struggle for me when I first started college — and get to know how you study best. When I have a stressful week ahead, I like to find a quiet place to study so that I can get a lot done efficiently. Much of the time, though, I like to work with friends so that I can work on things while enjoying talking to them. When I’m not working on my homework, you can usually find me at various events or meetings taking place on campus. However, it is so important to take time out of your day for yourself too so that you can mentally refresh and take care of your wellbeing too. For me, this means finding time, even if it’s only fifteen minutes, to play a board game with friends, read, or work on writing my novel.

WHY IS IT IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO BE INVOLVED AND HOW HAVE THESE OPPORTUNITIES ENHANCED YOUR WARTBURG EXPERIENCE: It is so important to be involved in activities and opportunities for many different reasons. One of the biggest reasons is because you should find joy in what you do on campus. If you’re doing things just to fill up your resume, then you’re not doing things for the right reason. Student organizations should allow you to pursue your passions and interests in a way that classrooms can’t. Another big reason to get involved is because getting involved helps you to find likeminded people who are interested in the same things as you. Finally, getting involved can be a door to new opportunities and growth. Being involved with different organizations on campus has challenged me to do things that were outside of my comfort zone, go places I never expected to go, and make connections in my learning and personal life. That being said, while you shouldn’t overload yourself, I would advise everyone to take every opportunity you can and explore the world. 

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR MOST MEMORABLE WARTBURG EXPERIENCE: It would probably be either visiting Yellowstone National Park for the first time on a service trip I co-led, attending the National Character and Leadership Symposium at the U.S .Airforce Academy with the Baldwin Fellows, or the many, many game nights I’ve had with my friends. After four years here, it’s impossible to pick just one memory!

WHAT IS THE ONE THING YOU NEVER IMAGINED YOU WOULD DO BEFORE COMING TO WARTBURG: There are a lot of opportunities that Wartburg has given me that I never expected but am so grateful for. If I had to pick one experience, however, it would probably be pursuing my dream of helping others with my research as an undergraduate student. I specifically remember walking by students working in the hoods while touring after the Wartburg Science Symposium and thinking I would never be able to do the work they were doing. Wartburg has given me the confidence and skills to do just that. While what we are doing now might seem small, every effort we make to find any new information might just be the key to helping create medicines for those suffering all around the globe. 

WHY HAS YOUR EXPERIENCE BEEN WORTH IT: Coming to Wartburg has been worth it because it has allowed me to pursue a well-rounded and excellent education while allowing me to make important connections with my peers and professors. At the same time, I have been able to travel the country, do research, participate in the performing arts, and lead service projects that I know have made an impact on the lives of those in my community. These experiences have made me a better student, leader, and person while giving me memories to cherish for a lifetime.