Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Leadership lived: Future doctor discovers her love of science at UIS

As an undergraduate student, Chemistry major and Capital Scholars Honors Program member Ashley Hollinshead is getting to do hands-on research at the University of Illinois Springfield.

She was recently chosen, along with ten other UIS students, to present her research at the University of Illinois Undergraduate Research Day at the Illinois State Capitol.

“I got to meet my representative,” said Hollinshead. “She came and listened to me speak about my project, as well as some of the professors from UIS. They came out and supported the students and listened to us brag about all of our research.”

Hollinshead and three other students are working with Associate Professor of Chemistry Keenan Dungey to find ways of reducing harmful nitrates found in freshwater. In central Illinois, these higher levels of nitrates are often caused by farming.

Before beginning the research, Hollinshead had never conducted water quality testing or learned in depth about water quality issues in Illinois. She’s been guided throughout the process by wonderful faculty members, such as Dungey.

“I love being able to interact one-on-one with your professors and really having that expertise from day one available to you,” said Hollinshead.

Her love of science has recently led her to apply for medical school. She’s not sure what type of doctor she wants to be yet, but she knows she’ll be working in a field she loves.

“Science is amazing,” she said. “It looks at the world around us and it tries to explain why the things happen the way that they happen and how we can use those things to benefit us, our communities and our world.”

Hollinshead fell in love with UIS during a campus visit in high school. The school had always been at the top of her list.

“I would choose UIS again in a heartbeat. I love it here,” she said.

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