“Until my senior year I was going to major in music,” Anastasia shares. “But I took a few intense science and math classes my last year and really enjoyed them. The experience made me reconsider my choice for a major.”
Settling on engineering, Anastasia began to consider potential university choices. A Lexington native, she decided to look at out-of-state universities with high-quality engineering programs, eventually visiting Virginia Tech in Blacksburg, Va. While she was there, she received unexpected advice.
“The people in their College of Engineering pointed out that I actually had a great engineering school in my backyard,” Anastasia recalls. “I hadn’t seriously considered the University of Kentucky for engineering, but I started hearing great things about it…and it would be much cheaper to stay close to home.”
While the financial savings was a contributing factor, Anastasia was most impressed by the option of pursuing a biopharmaceutical track within her chemical engineering studies.
“I had been considering pharmacy school after completing my undergraduate degree and the biopharmaceutical track gave me a wide range of options with the possibility of pharmacy school still available,” she says.
While her chemical engineering education has been rigorous, Anastasia credits exceptional professors like Kimberly Ward Anderson and Zachary Hilt with expertly combining challenging material with reliable availability.
“As my research advisors, Drs. Anderson and Hilt helped me figure out what I want to do when I graduate. Specifically, Dr. Anderson is not only a great teacher, but she us very accessible. You can email her almost any hour and she will respond to your questions,” says Anastasia. “Also, my biopharmaceutical track classes have made it possible for me to take classes taught by professors in the College of Pharmacy, alongside pharmacy students.”
Anastasia’s positive experience in the UK College of Engineering has led to her becoming an engineer ambassador. As an ambassador, she meets with prospective students, conducts tours and describes the many different possibilities for undergraduate students to get involved in research—something she learned firsthand from participating in the Research Experiences for Undergraduates program, led by Dr. Anderson.
Having completed her bachelor’s degree in May, Anastasia is staying at UK—pursuing a Ph.D. in chemical engineering and continuing her research into drug delivery applications for cancer therapy. While she is debating whether to pursue an academic position or enter the pharmaceutical industry, she is content to not have a fully developed plan.
“The way I see it,” Anastasia smiles, “I have at least five years to figure it out and because chemical engineering encompasses so many biological applications, I’ll always have options.”