by: Anna Kathryn Groom, CSE communications intern
Brian Niebuhr, a senior from Fort Wayne, Indiana, didn’t always know he wanted to go to TCU. However, when he visited campus on a whim and was greeted with kindness from everyone he met – he was hooked. Niebuhr originally chose biochemistry because he couldn’t decide between biology and chemistry. Now, he’s very happy with his choice because he feels like he has a “good mix” of both biology and chemistry with his major, which to Niebuhr, makes the perfect pair. He said, “Biology teaches you the gross skills so you gain a better holistic viewpoint. Chemistry teaches you to problem solve and that’s how you understand everything on a micro level.” He thinks that more students should consider this field of study because it has been immensely helpful to his greater understanding of both subjects in general.
Niebuhr has always wanted to go to medical school, and after working extensively in undergraduate research at TCU, that goal has only solidified more. Whether he was documenting refugees through the John V. Roach Honors College or developing the engineering behind contacts at Alcon, Niebuhr has experienced multiple facets of the medical field during his time at TCU. Additionally, Niebuhr noted that he feels lucky to have had an internship, as many pre-health students do not experience medicine from the perspective of the medical device industry. Niebuhr’s academic and professional experiences have contributed to his overall understanding of how the sciences apply to real life.
While Niebuhr has been a part of many organizations over his four years, he is primarily fond of his time working with the international student organization, Global EX. During his freshman year, Niebuhr played an integral part in the formation of the organization, which aims to build a meaningful framework for connecting various cultures on campus. He has loved building relationships with students from different cultures and working to have Global EX make a long-term impact on our campus. He said, “In Global Ex, we get to lead alongside peers from diverse backgrounds, which is an incredible opportunity to build relationships with different people.” Niebuhr went on to discuss how the whole idea of Global EX is to explore. Through learning about both local and global cultures and building relationships on teams together, students in Global EX are given a platform for exploring the lives outside of their own comfortable bubble. It becomes an opportunity for those who didn’t have the chance to study abroad to gain a broader understanding of the world around them. Niebuhr especially enjoyed his time working with TCU students and staff building this program that will be adopted by other institutions in the future.
Niebuhr has loved his time in the College of Science & Engineering, and he remembers feeling refreshed by the courses, which allowed him to tap into a new way of thinking. He reflected on the courses that made him remember the joy of learning without being stressed about grade requirements.
He said, “In chemistry and biology, we can get so hung-up on the letter grades and stress. When you’re not thinking about that, you can think more about the content without being so concerned about necessarily being right or wrong. I really appreciated the professors who pushed us to prepare to think about issues and pursue a different way of thinking.”
A dedicated student, Niebuhr is incredibly thankful for his time at TCU and the wonderful professors that have helped shaped his academic career. He remarked, “So many professors here really care about your success. They’ll sit down with you for hours until you understand something. I still keep up with some of the professors I had freshman year, which indicates how much of an impact they have on students.”
Though passionate about the sciences, Niebuhr also understands the importance of getting outside of his comfort zone. Last year, he took a tennis class and now he’s in a boat sailing course. He said, “If I could tell my freshman-year-self anything, it would be to take a physical education course every semester. It’s so interesting to learn a new, completely different skill. It’s also helpful in terms of maintaining stress. This experience also changes the way that you think when you’re learning new skills.” Niebuhr now plays tennis all the time and has loved having the opportunity to learn how to sail – which is something he had never dreamed of doing.
After he graduates TCU, Brian plans to go to medical school and hopes to follow his passions and work in a research hospital.