Gehring spent three weeks in Germany during an exchange program while a student at Fayette County High School, and she also studied abroad in the country as a Wittenberg student. A double major in biochemistry/molecular biology and German, Gehring plans to make the most of her year of study as a Fulbright Scholar.
“I’m most excited about having the opportunity to tie my two passions, science and the German language, together,” she said. She plans to speak predominately German while she is away from home.
Gehring’s interest in neurological diseases drew her to learn more about SMA. “I hope to gain a better understanding of how this disease functions, specifically looking at how the involved proteins interact or don’t interact, as the case may be. Conducting the research alongside some of the best scientists in this field, I hope, will furnish me with insights into alternative research approaches and provide a sound basis from which I can enter a career in molecular biology,” Gehring said.
Gehring never asked for science kits as a young child, and she does not recall having a keen interest in the field until she took a biology class as a freshman in high school. “I found myself enthralled with genetics and how our genes came together to help shape us as individuals, and that’s when I first knew I wanted to enter the field of genetics,” she said.
While at Wittenberg, Gehring spent most of her time focused on her studies, managed to fit in jobs in both the math and language workshops and spent time in the Springfield Crime Lab. Her senior year, she served as an organic chemistry teaching assistant. She also participated in the symphonic band and flute choir, and was a member of Beta Mu Beta.
“All of these experiences helped to shape my time at Wittenberg, but it was not just these experiences that played a major role in my college experience thus far; it was also the faculty, particularly Drs. Barry and Bennett in German and Dr. Goodman in biology,” Gehring added.
The daughter of Martin and Paula Gehring said she is “blazing new trails as a scientist in my family.” Gehring plans to further her study in molecular biology, genetics or neurobiology in graduate school following her time in Germany, which will begin in September.
Administered by the Council for International Exchange of Scholars, the Fulbright Scholar Program awards full research fellowships to graduating seniors after an extensive application process. Fulbright Scholars like Gehring are chosen for their academic merit and leadership potential, and receive free housing and a stipend to cover living expenses. The Fulbright currently operates in more than 140 countries worldwide and awards approximately 1,000 grants annually to American students. It also provides funding for about 1,400 foreign students to study at U.S. campuses each year.
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