Claire Pfeffer

Class Year

’19

Hometown

Oregon, Wisconsin

Major(s)

Biology

Minor(s)

Chemistry, Psychology

Claire Pfeffer was initially attracted to Carthage’s small class sizes, close professor-student relationships, and many research opportunities. Now further along in her career at Carthage, Claire has become a part of the close-knit Biology Department and has even succeeded in publishing her own research as an undergraduate.

With help from Carthage’s small class sizes, Claire has made important connections with many of her professors. Specifically, Claire worked with Professor Amareshwar Singh and another Carthage student to publish two papers, the first, “The Evolution, Functions and Applications of the Breast Cancer Genes BRCA1 and BRCA2,” and the second surrounding drug delivery to cancer cells.

Claire has attended two J-Term study tours to Nicaragua, Taiwan, and Singapore and continues to participate in research throughout the College. Some of Claire’s favorite Carthage memories include presenting her findings at the annual Celebration of Scholars.

Because of the field’s diversity, Claire encourages potential students to strongly consider biology at Carthage. “The major covers a broad range of biological topics that prepare students for multiple career paths. Many of the classes have a research component that allows students to pursue their interests.”

“The entire Biology Department has helped me throughout my time at Carthage by pushing me to succeed and supporting me.”

Claire Pfeffer, ’19

Career goal

“I plan to attend graduate school and get a PhD in genetics or molecular biology. I want to conduct research and teach.”

How have Carthage faculty had an impact on your life or Carthage career?

“The entire Biology Department has helped me throughout my time at Carthage by pushing me to succeed and supporting me; Dr. Andrea Henle has provided me with countless opportunities and support, Dr. Deborah Tobiason has pushed me to succeed and has opened many doors for me, Dr. Paul Martino always has time to listen and give advice when I need it, and Dr. Amareshwar Singh has given me opportunities to publish, which has made me a highly competitive candidate post graduation.”

Favorite class

“Space Biology has been my favorite class because it is interdisciplinary and highly unique. It is a seminar based class with many specialists visiting from across the country. The lab has many interdisciplinary techniques such as soldering, computer coding, botany, and experimental design.”

Campus involvement

“I am involved in both Tri-beta, which is the biology honors fraternity, and Biology Club. I’m also a biology tutor, zebrafish assistant, a lead lab assistant, and a writing fellow.”

Toughest class

“Experimental Design and Biostatistics has been the toughest class for me because it feels like three courses rolled into one with experimental design, statistics, and the start of senior thesis. It begins the cumulation of the major and has many projects to juggle at once.”

Opportunities at Carthage

“I have gone on two J-Term study tours to Nicaragua, Taiwan, and Singapore. Both trips offered me new perspectives on the world. I have done bioinformatic research with Dr. Tobiason, zebrafish research with Dr. Henle, and biochemistry research with Dr. Gabriella Kartz.”

Favorite moments and memories at Carthage

“My favorite memories include presenting at Celebration of Scholars my freshman year and late night breakfast before finals.”

Favorite spot on campus

“The second floor of the David A. Straz, Jr. Center is where I spend a lot of my time, especially working on homework.”

Biggest surprise so far

“That I have been published while still an undergraduate.”

What would your 8-year-old self think of you now?

“8-year-old me would be glad that I am still interested in teaching and biology. I would also be shocked that I want to go through this much schooling.”

Why should other students consider your major? What advice do you have for them?

“Biology is a diverse field with many different postgraduate options to pursue. The major covers a broad range of biological topics that prepare students for multiple career paths. Many of the classes have a research component that allows students to pursue their interests. The major is tough but it is definitely worth it. The department is a close knit community with professors and students who are always willing to help.”

Why Carthage?

“I chose Carthage for the small class sizes, the relationships with professors, and the research opportunities. The view of the lake didn’t hurt either.”