Searching for a cure
Sarah Gobin, a senior biochemistry and pre-pharmacy major, has been around science
her entire life. Her mother is a physician, and Sarah is a self-proclaimed "science
"Ever since I was young, I wanted to be in the science field, whether it was as
a marine biologist or whatever," she says.
For a long time, she considered following her mother's footsteps, but there was
a slight problem.
"I realized that I can't deal with the cadavers or dissecting things," she says
with a slight grimace. "As my brother cleverly pointed out, if I was a good doctor,
I wouldn't have to deal with dead bodies. But it was still a turn-off."
The one thing she did know was that she wanted to work in the sciences, and was
fascinated with biochemistry. The "bio" part worried her, though, because of those
"I was much more interested in the chemistry aspect," she says. "The Chemistry
Department let me jump right in and I was able to get all my requirements for the
(biochemistry) major, as well as what I needed for (pharmacy) school."
After commencement, Sarah will be attending Belmont School of Pharmacy in Nashville,
Tenn. During her graduate school search, she found a strong advocate in Dan McAlexander,
president of LaGrange College.
"President McAlexander came to us from Belmont, and he helped establish the pharmacy
school there. He wrote a letter for me, and he called the school. They all know
him. When I showed up for my interview, the head of the department approached me
directly and said, 'Oh, Dan McAlexander called about you. We're so excited to meet
you.' That was really cool."
Sarah says one of the things that excites her about the pharmacy field is that
it is ever-expanding.
"It's not what you see at your neighborhood pharmacy anymore," she says. "There
are so many choices."
For example, she could work in a hospital, where she would be working closely
with doctors. Or she can work with nurses and dieticians to develop plans.
"A lot of times, a medication doesn't just affect your malady, but it can affect
what you eat, how you feel, even your energy level."
There is also the option of going into academics.
"You can teach or do hands-on research, and that's what I'm really interested
in. Most of the research I've done in class here has been on potential cures. I
would love to go work for (drug companies) Merck or Pfizer and help develop the
Sarah says her time at LaGrange has prepared her for the next step in her
journey, and she has nothing but praise for her chemistry professors.
"All of them – Dr. Hank Parker, Dr. Melvin Hall and Dr. Bill McCoy – were all
very supportive. Dr. Parker wrote a letter of recommendation for me, and Dr. McCoy
made some phone calls for me when I was trying to get into pharmacy school. I think
they were more excited than I was when I got in."