Degree: B.S. in Chemistry
Graduation Date: May 2017
High School/Hometown: Jackson Liberty High School/Jackson, NJ
Clubs/Activities: Gamma Sigma Epsilon, Sigma Zeta, Chemistry Club
Before she even set foot on campus, Madison Piassek felt a strong chemistry with Georgian Court and its people. She transferred from another four-year college, and immediately felt welcome and right at home.
A chemistry major, Madison says her interest in science came from an “insatiable curiosity and strong desire to know ‘why.’” After her first chemistry class in her sophomore year of high school, she was certain it was the field for her.
“My teacher’s enthusiasm for chemistry was infectious, and she gave me an opportunity to see what an incredibly fascinating subject it is. After that year of chemistry, I was hooked,” she says.
“During the time I’ve spent here, I’ve benefited greatly from the small class sizes and challenging and supportive learning environment. My education has given me a solid foundation for a career in scientific research, and I’m so glad I made the decision to transfer to GCU.”
Madison is a member of Gamma Sigma Epsilon, the national chemistry honor society; Sigma Zeta, the national science and mathematics honor society, and the Chemistry Club. She wrote a grant to acquire research funding from Sigma Zeta and received a competitive award for equipment.
Madison has had ample opportunities for hands-on scientific experience to supplement her GCU career. Over the past year, she has been involved in a research project with Eduard Bitto, Ph.D., chair of the GCU Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and associate professor of biochemistry. She studied an enzyme called cytosolic 5ʹ-nucleotidase type IIIa, which she explains is crucial to the survival of red blood cells in the body. Madison hopes her project will “provide insight into the evolutionary history of this family of enzymes,” following a decade-long debate about their origins of specificity. She also conducted research in the Czech Republic and at Princeton University, and feels that her experiences in life science environments have helped inform and guide her scientific endeavors.
At the time of her interview, Madison was looking forward to the New Jersey Academy of Science’s 62nd Annual Meeting at Kean University in early May, where she shared her work. After graduation, she will be furthering her education at the Jefferson College of Biomedical Sciences in Philadelphia. In their professional science master’s program, Madison hopes to apply her chemistry and biology background to the improvement of lives.
Story contributed by Heidi V. Chaya ’17, who will graduate in December 2017 with a B.A. in English and a concentration in writing.