When Brittany Appelboom ’13 began looking at colleges, she searched for one that had a strong science program that would advance her interests in biology and chemistry. “One of the greatest advantages of attending Wesleyan is the focus on undergraduate research. I worked with Dr. Holly Boettger-Tong on a project that involved growing cells and treating them with a drug. We were looking to see if the drug had an effect on the growth of the cells in a culture. I learned a lot and felt well-prepared to go into a Ph.D. program.” She also accompanied Dr. Boettger-Tong on a research trip to Belize and worked as an assistant in the lab of Dr. Wanda Maynard Schroeder ’80.
Brittany says her strong connection with professors led to numerous personal recommendations when she applied for summer research positions. The summer after her sophomore year she conducted cancer biology research at the University of Pittsburgh and spent the next summer at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas, researching signaling pathways in breast cancer.
After graduation from Wesleyan, Brittany began her studies at The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) as part of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute Med Into Grad Research Fellow Program. Limited to a select number of students each year, the program was designed to prepare Ph.D. students to conduct bench to bedside research. Graduates are expected to be able to identify clinical applications of biomedical science discoveries to improve human health and to develop clinical research partnerships. Brittany worked as a research scientist while earning her master’s degree in basic medical sciences, and graduated in Spring 2016.
Today Brittany works as a program coordinator of the fellowship program in the Division of Pediatric Emergency Medicine (PEM) at UAB. The program is located in Children’s (hospital) of Alabama, the third largest children’s hospital in the United States. “I work directly with the program and assistant program directors to keep things moving from interview season, ‘On Boarding’ our new fellows, and graduating senior fellows. I manage the day-to-day operations and assist with annual accreditation efforts, educational programming, and supporting the fellows in any way I can.”
Last year, Brittany, her director, and a medical student submitted their research on new ways to collect patient surveys on fellows in the emergency department. It was accepted for publication by the Journal of Graduate Medical Education and will appear in the June 2019 issue.
Brittany is engaged to be married to Casey Burnett in November.
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