Make The Connection

September 2, 2019 | By Madison Bridger ’21

Katy Tuggle ’20 used OWU Connection funds to support a six-week research internship at Australia’s Murdoch Children’s Research Institute. Her experience included working with stem cells. (Photo courtesy of Katy Tuggle)

G’day, Doctor-To-Be

Ohio Wesleyan Student Completes Research Internship in Melbourne, Australia

Name: Katy Tuggle ’20
Hometown: Amherst, Ohio
Majors: Psychology and Pre-Medicine
Minors: Chemistry and Zoology
OWU Connection Experience: Internship at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute in Melbourne, Australia

Katy Tuggle ’20 explores Australia during her summer internship.

Tuggle earned an Ohio Wesleyan-funded Theory-to-Practice Grant to support a summer internship working with Jonathan Payne, D.Psych., senior neuropsychologist and research fellow, at Murdoch Children’s Research Institute (MCRI).

During her six-week internship, Tuggle gained a multifaceted understanding of clinical and laboratory research through the lens of neurofibromatosis type 1, a single-gene mutation disorder characterized by noncancerous tumors of the nerves and skin. She explored the disorder’s relationship to autism spectrum disorder and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

My Favorite Moment

My very favorite moment at MCRI was when I imaged and froze my very own flask of stem cells. It was then that my laboratory skills from OWU courses and recent internship training culminated to an independent understanding of exactly what I was doing and why I was doing it, all while acknowledging the real-world application the project possessed.

“Working with stem cells is a passion I’ve held for years and, in that moment, I reflected on the incredible realization of my dream. It was practically indescribable.”

Lessons Learned

My time at MCRI taught me many lessons about the logistics of research, the limitations researchers strive to overcome, and the large-scale impact it has on bettering the health and wellness of our communities.

“Most personally and unexpectedly, it informed me of the type of physician I want to become.

“I know now more than ever that as a medical practitioner, I must commit myself to lifelong learning because if I don’t recognize modern research advancements and their implications on early identification/early intervention/treatment, then I’m not delivering the exceptional health care every patient deserves.”

My Plans After Graduation

“After graduation, I plan to attend medical school and specialize in some facet of pediatrics. This summer, I began the application process with the goal of matriculating in the fall of 2020.”

Why I Chose OWU

“I chose Ohio Wesleyan University for their excellent science program, liberal arts values, and vast student opportunities. Additionally, I really appreciate the small size of the school. It’s important to me to connect with my professors and peers, and I know that at OWU I’m more than just a number.”