Bettinger took full advantage of Postsecondary Enrollment Options (PSEO) her senior year of high school to begin classes at St. Cloud State.
“I just loved the campus and the people,” she said. “And the faculty just care so much about the students, so I decided that it was the best place for me to stay.”
Bettinger is finding ways to fund her education now that she’s on campus.
As an on-campus resident she’s getting involved and meeting new people.
“Living here I’ve made so many new friends, and I’ve gotten to know so many great people,” she said. “I feel like I’m more part of the community here.”
The University Honors Program is a good way to get ahead in research early in your college career, Bettinger said.
Her fall semester honors seminar gave Bettinger a chance to give back through a service project gathering supplies in support of people at the Dakota Access Pipeline protest. The first Honors seminar course is designed to get students used to college by showing them the resources available on campus and introducing them to opportunities they have to group while a student.
She also volunteered as a member of the Medical Professions Association going to work with children at Anna Maria’s Alliance.
This semester Bettinger is conducting a research project as part of her Honors Seminar 2 course.
— Emily Bettinger, biomedical science major
“Not a lot of freshmen, especially freshmen in biomedical science, get to do research their freshman year,” she said. “… It definitely kind of puts me aside from other candidates for medical schools and graduate schools, the fact that I’ve started research early on.”
She is combining biology and genealogy to look at the integrity of genetic testing and how it affects a person’s identity.
She’s taking concepts she learned in her cell function and inheritance course and combining them with concepts from her identity culture and DNA to develop her research project. She’s starting out looking at the current research on the topic and then she’ll determine where there are gaps in the research that need to be explored further.
Bettinger said the research she’s doing is not groundbreaking, but the experience is getting her comfortable with doing original research and working with professors.
“Next year if I actually want to do some research one-on-one with the professor, I feel like I have the ability to do that,” she said.
The biomedical science major’s grandfather died of Alzheimer’s, and she’s dedicated to one day researching the disease and how the brain works.
“I’m hoping to go into neurology research with it,” she said. “I absolutely love my major. I’m just starting most of my major classes.”