Erin Wilson is well aware of the transformative possibilities of drug therapies. This senior in the College of Pharmacy spends her days in Purdue research labs, tailoring drugs that will help alleviate the pain of patients with cancer and cystic fibrosis. She's also teaching, providing a mentoring role to undergraduates just a year or two younger than she. In a sense, Erin is easing their transitions through one of the most challenging majors on campus. That passion — for both teaching and discovery — bodes well for her future in a PhD program, as well as a career to follow in a university research setting.
- Ten years of 4-H
In spite of growing up in close proximity to that other university in Bloomington, Indiana, Erin was pretty much bound for Purdue. A fan of Boilermaker basketball, she also showed cattle for 10 years in 4H, making frequent summer trips to West Lafayette. As she developed an interest in pharmaceutics in her junior and senior years of high school, Purdue's reputation as one of the best pharmacy schools in the nation sealed the deal.
- Drug-delivery discoveries
Though she doesn't often have direct contact with patients, Erin is excited about her role in health care. "The drug delivery field is at a unique place between discovery and the clinical outcomes," she says. "It's taking what already exists and optimizing it to give the patient the best chance for recovery."
And whether she's working in cutting-edge fields like nanotechnology to ease the suffering of patients with cystic fibrosis, or producing more efficient pharmaceutics used in chemotherapy, Erin feels at home in Purdue's various labs.
- Pushing toward a PhD
Earning a PhD will allow Erin to actively build upon the skill sets she's picked up as an undergraduate. "Universities give you the opportunity to be very creative in your research," she says. "You're constantly challenged to think about problems in a different way."
She'll begin addressing those challenges at UNC-Chapel Hill, when she begins her PhD studies next fall.
- Mad about Mackey
Even though the time demands of studies, teaching and research dictate her daily schedule, Erin makes time for basketball. She enjoys playing hoops at the Co-Rec and tries to take in all the action leading up to March Madness. You'll find her in Mackey Arena, cheering on both the men and women teams as often as possible. The hardwood success of the Boilermakers is critical for bragging rights when she returns home to southwest Indiana.