Inspiring Graduate Kennadi Shumaker, B.S. Applied Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

'Stout has prepared me incredibly well for work in my field of study.'
May 24, 2023

Inspiring Graduate: Kennadi Shumaker (’23)

Earning a degree in applied biochemistry and molecular biology in a smaller town like Menomonie allowed Kennadi Shumaker to take advantage of opportunities she would not have had elsewhere, she said.

UW-Stout’s program gave her opportunities such as tutoring, working as a teaching assistant and attending research conferences like NCUR, the National Conference on Undergraduate Research.

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Inspiring Graduate Kennadi Shumaker with Chancellor Katherine Frank at commencement / UW-Stout

“My Stout education and experience has highlighted the importance of making connections with peers and faculty and keeping an open mind to new experiences, even when they may seem difficult and scary at first,” Shumaker said.

She earned her ABMB degree on May 6, one of 1,173 graduates, and will be attending Indiana University-Bloomington for her Ph.D. in biochemistry.

“I am so excited and nervous to have been accepted to partake in this program, and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the help of the amazing faculty and the course structuring at UW-Stout,” she said. “My goal is to follow in my mentor’s footsteps and become a professor of biochemistry. My time at Stout has meant so much to me and my future.”

How well has UW-Stout prepared you to work in your field and why?

Stout has prepared me incredibly well for work in my field of study through academic structuring, job opportunites on campus and independent research.

Because of Stout’s polytechnic application of study, I have been able to partake in many hands-on research projects in biology and chemistry laboratories, providing me valuable lab skills and techniques that many employers look for in job applicants and graduate school candidates.

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Kennadi Shumaker at commencement / UW-Stout

My time as a chemistry tutor and teaching assistant has shown me the process behind higher academic teaching and chemical prep work, and working as a research assistant has allowed me to write a grant and present at a research conference; all valuable experiences that make it that much easier to transition into a job or graduate program.

What stands out about your UW-Stout experience?

What stands out most to me about my Stout experience would have to be the great lab opportunities and projects I have worked on, as well as the professors and their willingness to help students succeed.

A lot of in-course lab projects allow for independent study, such as the analysis of isolated soil microbes for heme enzymes, or projects that impact our local communities, such as the genetic modification of yeast to metabolize lactose into ethanol for ethanol production.

The professors always want students to succeed, and many of them go above and beyond.

My success at Stout is in large part thanks to the professors who were willing to write letters of recommendation, provide me with on-campus jobs, and have faith in who I was as a student to take me on as a research assistant: Dr. Vande Linde, Dr. Burritt, Dr. Miller-Rodeberg, Dr. Teague and Dr. Kadnikov.

How did your involvement impact your experience?

I am part of the Honors College, which has provided so many opportunities to meet new people and talk about topics that affect our society: immigration, recycling, etc. Taking Honors College courses has also been a great experience since I was constantly surrounded by people who also had a passion for learning new things.

I have received several scholarships that impacted my education: First Year Scholarship; Scott Swanson Memorial Endowed Scholarship; Melvin LeRoy Anderson Scholarship; and a student research grant through the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs. The financial help from UW-Stout has been tremendous in pushing me toward graduation.

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Kennadi Shumaker presenting her research poster / Kennadi Shumaker

How did you overcome the challenges you faced in earning your degree?

The ABMB program is quite dense, so most of the challenges I faced were scheduling courses for each semester and studying large amounts of information for multiple courses. There were times when I had to make sacrifices to get my work done, such as not spending time with my friends or missing events, but these sacrifices help me succeed in the end, and I always made sure to schedule time for myself.

As for scheduling classes, it really came down to communicating with my adviser, Dr. Vande Linde, and professors to move around course time slots, as well as working with the program director, Dr. Burritt, to ensure I was on the right path toward graduation.

What are you most proud of as you finish your degree?

I am most proud of what I have been able to accomplish in just a few short years and the many connections I made with my peers and faculty who have encouraged me to continue working hard, and who ultimately helped me make the final decision on where I wanted to go after I graduate.

The ABMB program is a rigorous program, and I am so proud to have been a small part of such a great accomplishment. I also hope that I might have been able to influence other people to work hard through my tutoring and as a teacher’s assistant and that they too will seek out the opportunities that I was able to take advantage of.

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