When Chryssa King ’18 first arrived at St. Cloud State University in 2015 she wasn’t quite sure what career path she wanted to follow or what kind of job she would want to pursue.
As an undergraduate student, King began studying biomedical sciences and became introduced to biology professor Dr. Heiko Schoenfuss and the University’s Aquatic Toxicology Lab.
“Honestly, I had no idea what I was doing when I got to St. Cloud State. I was told by a graduate student in the Biology Tutoring Center that if you want to do anything that is worthwhile, do research,” she said. “It just so happened to be Heiko’s lab, and I started working in there and I just kind of fell in love with it. It just worked.”
Ever since that moment, King was hooked and never left, eventually graduating with a bachelor’s degree in biomedical sciences in 2018. She is now in pursuit of her master’s degree in cellular and molecular biology.
“The biology department, I love this department. There are so many professors who are more than willing to help out. It has opened so many doors for me, given me so many opportunities and kind of solidified what I wanted to do,” she said. “I fully intended on getting my bachelor’s degree and getting out of school. Now, I’m looking at Ph.D. programs, and it really changed my outlook.”
From taking part in various experiments in a laboratory setting to being able to gain hands-on experiences out in the field, students within the biology department are able to obtain the lessons necessary to prepare them while moving forward in life.
“I have been able to enjoy and experience a lot of opportunities like this research. It has helped set me up and prepared me for where I want to go after college,” said Charles Christen, an undergraduate student majoring in biomedical sciences.
“This program and being at St. Cloud State has offered me the ability to connect with the professors. They are great resources, have a lot to teach and I’ve learned a lot from them. They also have the ability to point me in the right direction after college.”
Since starting his tenure as a biology professor at St. Cloud State in 2001, Schoenfuss has taken great pride in teaching students the information, skills and life lessons that science has the ability to provide.
“It’s not just taking pride in it but also recognizing that we rely to a large degree on that next generation of scientists to solve some of the problems we are facing right now. Having students who are well-trained and know how to conduct themselves professionally, as well as achieve the kind of goals that need to be achieved to advance, that’s a great success for our laboratory.
“There are a number of life lessons and professional skills that come out of conducting and participating in this kind of research.”