Grant puts biomedical research career in sight
Kendra Melos has an A.A. degree from Palm Beach State College and a Bachelor of Science in Food and Nutrition from Florida State University, yet her current career goal did not take shape until she entered PBSC’s Biotechnology College Credit Certificate program.
A Florida native, Melos had set her sights on earning a Ph.D., but life interceded for the mother of two, whose husband is a disabled veteran.
The dream remained, however, and through the Biotechnology CCC program and a grant to help pay for tuition, she found a way to begin again, as well as a new focus.
“I realized how much I love the lab experience versus the clinical aspect,” says Melos, who started the 18-month Biotechnology CCC last fall. “I’ve always been the type of person that wants to help people, and I figured if I got into the lab and was able to make a difference with research, I can help many more people than I can in a clinical setting.”
Her search for financial assistance led her to the Iowa-based Philanthropic Educational Organization, which began as a women’s society in 1869 and now has close to a quarter million members in the U.S. and Canada. PEO is dedicated to promoting educational opportunities for women through scholarships, grants, awards, loans and ownership of Cottey College in Nevada, Missouri. Melos applied to PEO’s Program for Continuing Education, a needs-based grant program that helps women whose education was interrupted and must return to school to gain marketable skills for employment. She was presented with a $1,800 one-time grant this month by Marilyn Mote of the PEO chapter in Jupiter, where Melos resides.
Melos hopes to pursue her graduate studies at The Scripps Research Institute, but first she plans to apply for a Scripps internship to complete the Biotechnology CCC. “Scripps has a metabolism and aging department which is related to nutrition, but I’m open to other fields. Just by being in the biotech program, I’m learning about the genetics standpoint of everything and the possibility of cancer research. It’s all interesting to me.”
“Kendra is the kind of student who will do well both academically and professionally as she is continually looking to make a positive contribution,” says Dr. Becky Mercer, director of PBSC Biotechnology programs & STEM Education. “Her work ethic, discipline and time management will take her far into a successful career. She is a role model for other students pursuing a career in biomedical research, who are juggling school, work, family and other commitments.”