Exposure to research can provide students opportunities to follow their interests, gain diverse laboratory skills and make contributions to their field of study. While deciding on the next step in her career, Beverly Pappas ‘17 carefully considered programs where she could make an impact on patients and the community. Pappas earned a bachelor of science in biochemistry from St. Edward’s University in Austin, Texas. She is currently enrolled in the doctor of philosophy in Pharmaceutical and Chemical Sciences Program (PCSP) and also serves as a research assistant under Dr. William Chan, Professor and Chair of the Department of Pharmaceutics and Medicinal Chemistry.
“I decided to pursue my PhD in pharmaceutics, specifically molecular and cellular biology, because I love the interdisciplinary aspect. After much consideration and support from my family and friends, I realized that I could help more people by uncovering novel aspects of disease states by working in the lab,” said Pappas.
In the research lab, Pappas will be instrumental in the success of Dr. Chan’s current research. Dr. Chan recently received a National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, a division of the National Institutes of Health, grant of $367,000 to study how the protein known as p23 has the ability to decrease the amount of the aryl hydrocarbon receptor (AhR) in the absence of ligand, a molecule that combines with another. Read more about his research here.
When asked why she chose Pacific, Pappas said, “I wanted the opportunity to be involved and collaborate with peers and professors. Professors at Pacific are readily available to help me.” She says Dr. Chan is a great example of a professor who has exemplary leadership and teaching style and considers him as a mentor. “Dr. Chan has a very interactive and hands-on teaching style and ensures that we have a strong grasp of the concepts and fundamentals while also encouraging independent and critical thinking,” said Pappas.
Pappas also believes that being involved in extracurricular activities is an important component of one’s professional and personal growth. She serves as Vice President on the PCSP Graduate Student Association and as a member on the Summer Success and Leadership Academy and Black Campus Ministry. “Faith is very important to me and Black Campus Ministry provides a wonderful outlet for young African Americans to study the Bible and grow stronger in our faith.”
Looking towards the future, Pappas hopes to conduct research overseas with the Fogarty International Center in tracking drug resistant tuberculosis in Malawi. She would also like to partner and collaborate with scientific professionals to open an after-school program for young girls to expose them to different areas of science. Similar to her work with the Summer Success and Leadership Academy, this program will also integrate mentoring into the curriculum to support those interested in pursuing a higher education.
Some interesting facts about Pappas are that she loves bacon, is related to Emeka Okafor who plays for the Phoenix Suns as a power forward, and after high school she considered enlisting in the Marine Corps.
By Dua Her '09