April Thresher ’20, an ElmSTEMs scholar and chemistry major, is taking full advantage of the research opportunities available at Elms.
“Science is Everywhere”
Even though April Thresher ’20 commutes to campus every day, she’ll tell you that she actually lives on campus — her room just happens to be in the chemistry lab. As an ElmSTEM scholar, April packs her schedule with science seminars, conference presentations, and research projects with faculty. Why the mad dash? According to April, it’s because there is a never-ending list of questions to ask about the universe.
“Science is everywhere,” she said. “It fascinates me. There’s always going to be so many different theories and facts that people are trying to prove every single day.”
After earning a $10,000-per-year scholarship from the National Science Foundation, April catalyzed her studies at Elms, immediately partnering with science faculty on real-world research projects.
Most recently, she presented her research with Nina Theis, Ph.D., at the Eastern New England Biological Conference, showcasing the results of “Scent Cessation in Citrus.” Alongside Professor Theis — whose research centers around fragrance production of flowers — April investigated whether cut flowers have a less-potent scent than that of their intact counterparts.
“We focused our research on the perfume industry, and what perfumers would use — either cut or intact flowers,” she said. “It was pretty cool for my first research project. I got to see the whole process, how time consuming it is.
“It’s not just writing a lab report and turning it in,” she added. “It’s actual research.”
In addition to all the face time with faculty and local science gurus, April values being an ElmSTEM scholar because it gives her the chance to set an example for future generations of women scientists.
“One reason for my being in the field is to influence younger girls, whether in middle school or high school, to close the gender gap,” April said. “We’re still fighting for equality. We can do all the same things — all of our minds are powerful.”
On campus, April fulfills this role as a mentor in general chemistry lab sessions. Along with Beatrice Luzgin, Ph.D., April prepares raw materials and lab equipment, answers questions, and ensures that experiments run safely.
“I try to help them in ways that were most helpful for me,” she said. “I always needed a rhyme and a reason for everything. I try to explain concepts the best way I can, how they work, and even if students don’t understand something at first, I’ll explain it until they do.”
While she still has plenty she wants to accomplish before graduating from Elms, April plans on a career as a research scientist, investigating mental health and illness.
“After I graduate, I’m thinking of going to get my Ph.D. in neuroscience,” she said. “That’s where my psychology minor would come in. I want to be able to study the chemical aspects of the brain, and possibly the effects of different drugs on behavior.”
Do you share April’s passion for chemistry? If so, we encourage you to ccontact us or schedule a campus visit to learn how Elms College can help you transform your natural curiosity into a rewarding career.