Aldyn Wildey finds her calling in KU’s Biotechnology laboratories and lands Bioengineering internship

Aldyn Wildey, Major: Biotechnology, Minor: Business

Hometown: Abilene, KS

Major and Minor: Major: Biotechnology / Minor: Business

Internship title and organization:

Undergraduate Research Assistant, Institute for Bioengineering Research

Dr. Candan Tamerler

What were your responsibilities during the internship?

My responsibilities during the internship were to help my mentors with various projects, collect data, and present the data and scientific techniques during group lab meetings.

What was your favorite part(s) of the internship?

My favorite part of the internship was just gaining experience in the Engineering field as a whole. I was able to contribute a lot when it came to the experimental side of things, but I also was able to learn about many different techniques and the science behind them from an Engineering point of view.

What did you gain from the experience that will be valuable to you in the future?

I received training on multiple instruments that some people don’t get exposed to as an undergraduate, so that can really set me apart from others when it comes to working in the Biotechnology industry.

"I also learned how to work as a team with people who had different scientific backgrounds than me. We all found ways to highlight our strengths while working on the various projects."

How had the classes you’d taken at KU prepared you for the internship?

The classes I have taken at KU helped me an immense amount in my internship. My classes have taught me how to solve problems in the lab setting without having a clear direction, which essentially is what research is all about. My classes also taught me to not be afraid to fail and how to be mentally capable to keep going because a lot of scientific research is failure and only a small percentage of it is success.   

Why did you choose your majors/minors? Did you always know what you wanted to study? Or was there a eureka moment?

I always knew I wanted to help people using science in some way. However, the path I took to get here was not always the clearest. I initially started my college career majoring in Biomedical Engineering but couldn’t quite get through Calculus 2. Then I changed my major to Biology, but I was surrounded by students who wanted to go the Pre-Med and Pre-Pharmacy routes which wasn’t for me. I knew being in the lab and doing research was my true calling because I had always thrived in that setting, so when I heard about the Biotechnology program at KU Edwards Campus I immediately inquired about it. After meeting with the advisor and one of the program directors/professors I was enrolled to start the following fall. Pursuing a major in Biotechnology has been the best decision I have made and solidifies that I am meant to be in the lab.

What do you plan to do after graduation?

I plan to pursue my PhD in Neurobiology.  

What motivates you?

My motivation comes from a friend of mine named Carly Gassman. Carly passed away from brain cancer in March of 2014. When she was diagnosed I knew immediately that I wanted to pursue a career in science so that I could help people like her. Going through an experience like that is never easy, so I chose to keep her memory alive by going into this field and eventually receiving my PhD in neurobiology.

"My classes are not easy and there are times where it is hard for me to keep going, but remembering who I am doing all of this for and continually looking at the bigger picture is what motivates me."

Be like Aldyn, and pursue your passions, wherever they may lead you. For more information, visit Biotechnology, Institute for Bioengineering Research, the School of Business, and KU Edwards Campus at the University of Kansas.