Danielle Moehring is a shining example of the old saying that graduation isn’t an end but a beginning.
When Moehring walks across the stage Saturday, May 11, to get her diploma at University of Wisconsin-Stout, a great beginning will be awaiting. She is scheduled to start work May 20 as a research scientist at Promega, a leading biotechnology company based in Madison, her hometown.
As an applied science major with a biotechnology concentration, Moehring couldn’t have asked for a better way to start her career.
“I am extremely excited for that. Promega is one of the best biotech companies, and I am honored to work for them,” Moehring said.
The experience won’t be completely new. Last summer she worked at Promega as part of a Cooperative Education experience through UW-Stout. As a full-time employee, she will continue work on a research project she began as a student.
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Everything seems to have fallen into place for Moehring in the past year.
In addition to the job at Promega, she worked full time this semester at Monsanto, an agricultural biotech company in Madison, while finishing her degree requirements with online classes at UW-Stout. At Monsanto she researched the genetic properties of wheat.
From January to March, she also was an assistant coach for the Madison Memorial High School girls’ gymnastics team.
“I can't really put in words how thankful I am for Stout, for the companies giving me these great opportunities and for my family that is always supporting me,” said Moehring, who minored in business administration.
Moehring should feel right at home in the research lab. At UW-Stout she conducted research on purified extract from a plant known as the Wandering Jew to see if it can slow the growth of cancer. The plant is used medicinally in some countries. Her project was called “Tradescantia zebrina Extract Inhibits Cancer Cell Growth.”
Her project found that the plant does inhibit cancer cell growth, although she said more research is needed for a definitive finding.
Moehring presented the research at several conferences and events, including this spring at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research at UW-La Crosse.
An experience that stood out, however, was having her research accepted for an undergraduate poster competition in April at the Experimental Biology conference in Boston, hosted by the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.
“It was truly an outstanding experience. Even after five days there I felt like there was still so much I wanted to do,” Moehring said. “I attended seminars hosted by scientists from all over the world who were presenting their groundbreaking research.”
Moehring was the lead researcher on the project but received support from two other students, Ashley Brauner, of Hixton, and Calli Walsh, of Princeton, Minn.
Moehring finished the project under the direction of Jim Burritt, associate professor of biology. “Danielle is a self-starter. She found ways to make the most of her time and education at Stout and found exciting opportunities to use the skills she learned. I expect she will continue to find new doors to open in her future,” Burritt said.
Professor Ann Parsons, biology, said Moehring is goal-oriented, having taken courses at UW-Madison that weren’t offered at UW-Stout. “Danielle stands out because she is extremely motivated and loves what she is doing,” Parsons said.
In return Moehring complimented the faculty at UW-Stout. “I was thankful enough to have teachers who cared, wanted the best for me and were willing to do their best to help me get to where I wanted to be,” she said. “Any time I was ever unsure of the path I wanted to follow, they were there to point me in the right direction.”
Graduate school a strong possibility
Even with her professional career underway, Moehring likely isn’t finished with school. She already is thinking about going to graduate school in a year or two.
She was accepted into the competitive cytotechnology program at UW-Madison for the fall but instead took the Promega position to gain more career experience, she said.
“Getting my degree means the world to me because I have worked so hard to set up a life and career that is going to be rewarding. It also means I have the chance to continue my education as well,” she said.
She’s happy that she chose UW-Stout, Wisconsin’s Polytechnic University, which helped put her on the right path to becoming a scientist. “All in all, Stout rocks,” she said.