Antoinette Myers began as a chemical engineering major at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette but decided to triple major in chemistry, biology, and mathematics when she realized she had more interest in the pre-requisite topics.
She said, “After careful consideration, I decided to change my major as I believed I could make a greater contribution to society if I studied what I was passionate about. I applied and was approved by the Dean of Science to simultaneously pursue three degrees in math, chemistry, and biology. Switching to a triple degree program with a lot of electives gave me the freedom to take a very diverse range of classes relating to the medical field.”
How Can a Student Manage Three Majors?
Antoinette is thankful to study subjects she is passionate about. She believes that her broad knowledge will help facilitate a valuable and unique impact in the medical field.
“Majoring in chemistry, math, and biology has allowed me to understand and analyze research from every angle, which I believe will benefit my future research in the medical field, and I hope ultimately improve the quality of life for my future patients.”
As a mother, a member of several student organizations, and a volunteer at the Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center, Antoinette proves anything is possible when you put your mind to it. She is a senior member of the Pre-Professional Society, which consists of pre-med and pre-allied health at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She said, "PPS has given me the opportunity to hear from a few medical school deans. Hearing from the deans has been very helpful as they outlined what they expected from their applicants, as well as what our experience would be like if we attended their medical school."
UL Lafayette Offers Courses That Connect Students’ Interests
At UL Lafayette there are many opportunities for students to explore their interests. Antoinette’s favorite chemistry courses were Research with Dr. Gallo, Organic Chemistry I lecture with Dr. Wellman, Organic Chemistry II lecture with Dr. Murru, and Organic Chemistry Labs with Dr. Simon.
“We studied SARS-CoV-2’s binding site’s structure, and we also investigated possible therapeutics and how they worked by either binding to SARS-CoV-2 or the ACE receptor. I loved this class, because I was very interested in the subject and enjoyed learning from Dr. Gallo. I highly recommend every student takes at least one of his classes.”
Antoinette encourages other students to believe in themselves and take a chance on what interests them. Some of the classes in her other majors (such as biostatistics), helped her with chemistry, “I loved this class, because it related to biology, the medical field, and chemistry. This class improved the quality of my lab reports in my chemistry and biology classes due to my better understanding of the statistics used in my research,” she said.
Extracurricular Activities and Research at UL Lafayette
Antoinette took advantage of her experience at UL Lafayette by joining various organizations on campus and volunteering.
“I am also a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success (NSLS), where I served on the volunteer committee for a few years. Being on the volunteer committee was a great opportunity to meet and volunteer with students that share similar values with me. I enjoyed being a member of the American Chemical Society (ACS), and the Women Chemists Society as well.”
She is currently working on biochemistry research under Dr. Wu Xu, "We are comparing protein structures using the triangular spatial relationship (TSR) method. This novel method is important to understand and use because it allows us to quantify structural differences,” Antoinette said.
"Researching with Dr. Wu has been extremely valuable in that I have learned how to use many different computer programs to compare different protein structures and sequences. We use FileZilla (WinSCP), terminal (PuTTY) to run codes, the TSR method for structural comparisons, the generation of cluster maps to visualize the comparisons, MEGA to compare the evolutionary sequences, and VMD to generate a 3D picture of our PBD IDs.”
Life After UL Lafayette
Antoinette has high hopes for her future after graduating from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. She aspires to attend medical school and spend a lot of time researching, “I believe a doctor must stay up to date with the current research to best serve his or her patients, and my diverse background in the sciences helps me thoroughly understand medical research,” Antoinette said. She credits her instructors and the cozy hometown vibes on campus for her enthusiasm and enjoyment at UL Lafayette.
"I credit a lot of my love and interest in the sciences to having such intelligent teachers who are very passionate about the subjects they teach. I also really like that UL Lafayette has a small campus feel and I [can] interact more with my professors and peers. I was also lucky enough to meet three of my best friends in my classes at UL Lafayette, which I know I wouldn’t have met if I attended another university.”