June 18, 2024

Taylor Painter, a May 2023 Mayville State graduate from West Fargo, N.D., made the absolute most of her Mayville State experience. While pursuing double majors in biology and allied health and minors in psychology and chemistry, she was extremely involved not only academically, but also with activities that enhanced her academic pursuits.

Taylor was an avid member of the Science Club and served as president of the group for three semesters. She says that being a member of the club gave her opportunities to engage with and give back to the community while developing leadership, communication, and collaboration skills. She encourages all current and future Mayville State students to join the Science Club!

In addition, she was a member of the band throughout her time at Mayville State. She is thankful for the opportunity to continue her passion for music and recognizes the faculty members who helped her greatly improve and grow as a musician.

Painter recalls that the faculty members she interacted with on campus always seemed to genuinely care about their students. She said, “Many were interested in how we were doing not only in the classroom, but outside of it as well. Because so many of the faculty members took the time to get to know me as an individual, I felt like I had endless support. I was able to get advice that was applicable to me and my specific situations and goals.”

“The faculty in the science and math departments, specifically, became a huge support system for me as I progressed through school. Many of them continue serve as mentors to me now, even after moving on from Mayville State,” said Taylor.

Of the extracurricular activities she engaged in at Mayville State, Painter feels she benefited most from her involvement in various research labs, as these experiences prepared her well for graduate school.

She was first introduced to research opportunities at Mayville State by Dr. Michael Kjelland, Assistant Professor of Biology. The summer following her freshman year, she was given the opportunity to work on the mosquito research of Dr. Joseph Mehus, Associate Professor of Biology.

“It was here that I found my passion and love for research and the scientific process,” said Painter. “I was able to develop technical skills in the lab, learn how to develop and present scientific posters and talks for both science and general audiences, and play a role in designing scientific experiments.”

Taylor was the student lead of the mosquito research project during her last two years at Mayville State, which further developed her leadership, collaboration, organization, and problem-solving skills. During her last year in the lab, she traveled to surrounding tribal colleges to aid in the statewide expansion of Mayville State’s project.

“I am incredibly grateful for all the experiences and knowledge that I gained working for Dr. Mehus. During the mosquito off-season, I also worked in the lab of Dr. Thomas Gonnella, Professor of Chemistry. I gained a lot of technical and leaderships skills and knowledge there as well, but I also learned that I am definitely a biologist, and not a chemist.”

Taylor has just completed her first year of course work at the University of North Dakota School of Medicine and Health Sciences, where she is working toward earning a Ph.D. in biomedical sciences. She has officially joined the Brown-Borg lab where she will be studying how metabolism and various hormones contribute to the aging process.

In looking to the future and her ultimate goals, she said, “I hope to supplement my degree with a certificate in undergraduate education. In the future, I would love to teach and run my own laboratory at an undergraduate institution.”