Alumni Spotlight: Meghan Ward – Graduate Student, Independent Research, Author and Much More
Auburn alumna Meghan Ward has accomplished some pretty incredible feats since receiving her bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 2017.
After her time on The Plains ended, the former student from Auburn’s College of Sciences and Mathematics (COSAM) began multi-disciplinary research in biology and chemistry at Northwestern University. On top of that, she co-authored two publications – one as a second author in Inorganic Chemistry, and the other as a co-first author in Nature Chemistry.
Ward was a C. Harry Knowles Scholar and worked in the lab of Professor Christian R. Goldsmith during her time at Auburn. While in Professor Goldsmith’s lab, she worked on two research projects focusing on developing chemical complexes that could interact with specific aspects of biology associated with Alzheimer’s Disease.
“Professor Goldsmith trained and taught me to become an independent researcher, and without this training I would not be where I am today,” Ward said.
“He taught me the value of careful experimental design and how to learn something from every lab failure, as well as every lab success. I use these skills that I learned under his direction every day as a graduate student at Northwestern and know I will continue to throughout my scientific career.”
Using the knowledge and experience gained from her time in Auburn, Ward is on the path to her dream occupation – finding a way to progress towards making cancer a more survivable disease, she said.
When Ward began her studies at Northwestern in the fall of 2017, she joined the lab of Professor Thomas J. Meade. Under Professor Meade, she studies “the ways that targeted Cobalt (III)-Schiff Base complexes interact with a very specific type of zinc finger transcription factor to generate novel therapeutics against cancer metastasis in Basal Cell Carcinoma (skin cancer) and SHH subtype Medulloblastoma (a malignant childhood brain cancer).”
Having experienced the loss of loved ones due to cancer, Ward joined the lab to make an impact on research in a field close to her heart. With this she wants to continue in the cross-field of cancer research and metals in medicine, she said.
“Even if all I ever add to the field is a few drops into the pool of cancer knowledge, I consider that a fruitful and successful career,” Ward said.
With each task graduate school throws her way, Ward thanks Auburn for providing her the knowledge base needed to work in the field.
Always thinking of new ways and ideas to drive the direction of her Ph.D. project, no two days are the same for Ward, and that is what she loves about researching in chemistry and biology.
Ward reminds current COSAM students that college is the best opportunity to really invest yourself and figure out what you love.
“…you are only limited by what you tell yourself that you can’t do. No one and nothing else have the power to limit your potential and capabilities. So live life limitlessly, both inside and outside of academics! Only then will you truly discover what you are capable of within your field and life in general,” Ward said.
Jenda awarded a Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics and Engineering Mentoring from the White House.08/10/2020