Meet the Class of 2014: Renee Geck

Hometown: Everett, Wash.
Major: Biology (cell and molecular) with minors in mathematics and chemistry

Q: How would you describe your experience at George Fox?

A: My time at George Fox has enriched so many areas of my life. I have made fantastic friends, gained knowledge in diverse fields, and had unique opportunities inside and outside of my major. I was blessed with a tight-knit freshman floor, so we had a lot of fun together and some of those women are still among my closest friends. I also connected well with my major department, especially doing breast cancer research with Dr. John Schmitt. He has been a wonderful mentor to me, and those summers helped me determine what I want to do in the future.

One of the fantastic things about George Fox is all the opportunities to explore different disciplines and issues. Even with commitments to my major, I was able to take classes in math (which I love!), play in band, and be a member of the International Justice Mission Club for all four year I’ve been here. I’ve also taken “just for fun” classes in art, history and religion, as well as a spectacular Juniors Abroad trip to Greece. To me, that balance of strength in my major as well as ways to pursue other passions has created an invigorating and exciting course for my time at George Fox.

Q: How have you changed or grown since coming to George Fox?

A: I know that I have changed over my time at George Fox, but it has been a gradual process from many events and realizations. My friends have taught me to be more spontaneous and flexible, and to realize the importance of taking time to strengthen relationships. From discussions and classes I learned more about different viewpoints and how to better process my thoughts, especially before I speak. That also helped me better understand some of my beliefs so I will leave here with a better foundation in my faith. I have a greater appreciation for different fields now that I have learned more about them. I have also learned more about how I think and work and how that will play a role in what I want to do and who I want to be.

Q: What’s next?

A: This coming fall I will be moving to Boston to pursue a PhD in Harvard’s program in biological and biomedical sciences. I am very excited and so thankful to all my professors for helping me through the application and interview processes, and for providing the research experiences that prepared me to pursue graduate school. I am hoping to do research in a lab that focuses on mechanisms of human diseases, and one day have a lab of my own and perhaps teach at a university. For now, I am excited for an opportunity to explore a different part of the country, meet new people and contribute to significant research as I continue to learn. That desire to continue learning definitely propelled me toward graduate school and research, since I want to work in an area that is dynamic with opportunities to improve people’s lives. Since science is a field that many people think can be hostile to Christian faith, I am grateful for the integration of faith into my studies at Fox, and look forward to meeting other Christian students in the program at Harvard. I think that this is a great opportunity to use my gifts and passions in a constructive way, not only to help others but also to bring me fulfillment in doing something I see as meaningful.

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