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TAISIIA FEOKSTITOVA, '17

MAJOR: BIOCHEMISTRY | HOMETOWN: Zaporizhzhya, Southern Ukraine

"I fell in love with the sense of community at Whitworth right away. Each student is a valued individual. I still remember how shocked I was to see Beck Taylor at all of the Traditiation and Orientation events for the new students.

Whitworth has an amazing group of international students. It is hard to be so far away from your home, family and friends. Being a member of the International Club is one of the most meaningful experiences I have had. It is so fun to have friends from all over the world. We discuss our cultures and share stories and, most important, food. Getting to know people from so many different backgrounds broadened my worldview and helped me to see my limitations and to grow as an individual.

My first research experience was in environmental and analytical chemistry in Dr. Ntow's lab. I worked with the sediments from the Little Spokane River to determine concentrations of heavy metals using an atomic absorption spectrometer. The research was fun – it combined my passions for the environment and chemistry, and it helped me to decide what I want to do in my career.

I believe that humans have a responsibility to care for the environment. We call this planet our home, so we should take care of it just like we take care of our house/apartment/room. There is nowhere to escape from the consequences, because environmental issues are global and affect everyone. Each of us can, and should, contribute to taking care of the environment. There is no place for selfishness.

This fall I will begin working toward a Ph.D. in organic chemistry at Oregon State University. In the future I want to work in a pharmaceutical research lab, focusing on the synthesis of biologically active natural products. In my research I hope to employ the principles of green chemistry."