WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — Emily Erickson isn’t stressing too
much about her upcoming final exams at Purdue University. That’s because she is
excited and busy as she prepares for her summer internship in Washington
Erickson, a sophomore biochemistry major from Clarks Hill,
will spend her summer as an intern with the National Institutes of Health. She
will move to D.C. to help research breast cancer in a mammary stem cell biology
Her work there will build on the experience she already has
gained working for Purdue’s Mammary Biology Lab, where she studies lactation.
Her big dreams to do research all started in her hometown,
just a few miles away from Purdue.
“I grew up on an acreage where we had dairy goats and every
kind of poultry that you can imagine,” she said. “I milked our goats twice a
day, and that was a great experience that pushed me to the lab job I have now,
in the Mammary Gland Biology Lab.”
Erickson has done a lot during her first two years at
Purdue, and her hard work led her to the honor of being named the Top Sophomore
in the College of Agriculture.
Her roots in agriculture and 4-H inspired her to do research
in the College of Ag, and even to start up the Purdue Goat Club. Her love for
animals, especially goats, is obvious as she works hard to help the new club
“Coming to Purdue, I was a little disappointed to find that
there wasn’t a goat club,” she said. “So I joined the Dairy Club, which is
great. But towards the beginning of last fall, I got together with a bunch of
goat friends who had shown together to talk about starting a club. With the help
of Dr. Fernandez, the associate dean here, we got rolling, gained momentum and
here we are.”
Erickson said that the club focuses on every kind of goat
breed, including dairy, meat and fiber goats. The club hosts speakers and events
and hopes to take a few field trips to goat farms in the future.
Her talents reach beyond research and agriculture, extending
into the world of music. Erickson is a principal viola player in the Purdue
“I started playing violin when I was 3 years old,” she said.
“I picked up viola in high school and this year switched to viola in the
orchestra. I love the orchestra because Purdue doesn’t have a music major, but
everyone who is in the orchestra is doing it because they love it and because
it’s a great experience.”
Erickson has earned several scholarships and honors,
including the Astronaut Scholarship and the Edwin T. Mertz Scholarship in
Biochemistry. She has excelled academically and is in the Dean’s Scholars
In the future, she would like to pursue higher education and
earn a master’s degree.