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Updated 3:00 PM May 2, 2006




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Class of '06: Another set of goals achieved

Four years and two bachelor's degrees later, Rebecca Lynch, 22, has found her U-M education to be everything she had hoped it would be. In the fall, she'll begin medical school at Wayne State University, taking her dream to the next stage.
(Photo courtesy
Rebecca Lynch)

Lynch's interest in medicine and science was a direct outgrowth of time spent at her father's elbow as he pursued his general surgery practice in Terre Haute, Ind. She tagged along on rounds and watched surgeries. "I saw arthroscopic gall bladder surgery at 12," Lynch says. "I think that's when I really wanted to be a doctor."

She chose U-M out of a desire to encounter a more diverse world than Terre Haute. "I really wanted to go someplace where I'd meet somebody different than me," Lynch says. "I wanted to be challenged by other beliefs and cultures, and I learned a lot more about other people."

Though she had been on the pre-med track since junior high, Lynch thought it a good idea to check out the laboratory track as well, so as a junior she found a spot in the lab of biochemist Rowena Matthews in the Life Sciences Institute. "She's just done so much and she has a family," Lynch expresses with awe. Last summer, Lynch stayed in Ann Arbor and continued her work in the Matthews lab under a Perrigo Fellowship, a competitive summer program that brings undergrads to the LSI.

In Matthews' lab, Lynch collaborated with postdoctoral fellow C. Lee Elmore on a study of how diet affects some crucial enzymes in mice. The work became her senior honors thesis in biochemistry, and turned up some surprising results.

"It was just the opposite of what you'd expect," she says, for reasons that Elmore and others are still exploring. Along the way, Lynch got plenty of practice doing blood draws and necroscopies.

"I really liked doing research as an undergrad, but I can't see myself doing it as a career."

When she wasn't studying hard to earn double bachelor's degrees in math and biochemistry (with honors), Lynch volunteered as a tutor in the Detroit schools through the Detroit Project. "I really like teaching and working with kids," she says. She also spent some time with BookMARK, mentoring and reading with elementary age students around Ann Arbor.

This summer she is deliberately unscheduled and planning to hang out with her family in Terre Haute. "All my friend are leaving for good places."

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