[WATCH] Dear Professor – Dr. Karen Schmeichel and Mackenzie Roberson ’24

In this continuing series, graduating seniors write a letter to the Oglethorpe professor who impacted them the most. Watch as the chosen professor reads a letter from their student.

Mackenzie Roberson ’24 was never afraid to get her hands dirty at Oglethorpe. If she wasn’t experimenting in the labs, she could be found in the creeks around campus, leading sustainability efforts as part of the “OU Stream Team.”

Roberson—together with fellow soon-to-be-graduates Jaely Chavez ’24 and Thalia Boston ’24—was selected from applicants nationwide to present her research at the Allied Genetics Conference in Washington, D.C. She graduates this May with a degree in biology and will pursue a post-graduate degree at Emory University in the fall.

In a letter to Professor of Biology Dr. Karen Schmeichel (affectionately called “Dr. S.”), Roberson expressed her heartfelt gratitude for the many opportunities she was afforded as an undergraduate. Working together in the state-of-the-art research labs in the Cousins Center for Science and Innovation, the student-and-faculty pair conducted graduate-level research on C. elegans—a type of nematode often studied to understand biological processes.

It was through this research opportunity—and close mentorship from Dr. Schmeichel—that Roberson felt fully equipped to enter into a highly competitive graduate program.

“Dr. Schmeichel supported me through the process of applying to graduate school, something I never imagined I would be doing,” writes Roberson. “I am a first-generation college student, which meant that a lot of the processes I went through I had absolutely no clue about. But Dr. Schmeichel was kind and patient and supported me through it all.”

“Getting mentored by Dr. S. has had an immeasurable impact on my life, shaping the scientist I currently am and aim to be in the future,” she said.

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