Fort Worth native Lauren Getz grew up around the TCU campus, yet never thought she would spend her undergraduate years as a TCU student. It was not until she visited the campus as a prospective student that she discovered the sense of community so many students love. After receiving her acceptance to TCU, Getz was also offered the Chancellor’s Scholarship, the most prestigious TCU scholarship, which provides full tuition to TCU for highly accomplished entering undergraduates.
“The Chancellor’s Scholar Program is a smaller community within TCU’s community. It brings students who are academically inclined together through events, dinners and social activities,” Getz said. “When I received my invitation, it made me realize how much TCU cared about its students and me as an individual. Being a part of this program gave me a community the minute I became a student at TCU.”
Students within the Chancellor’s Scholar Program have the opportunity to attend events throughout the year to interact with the Chancellor, including a luncheon and retreat in addition to several other social events. Students may also participate in interview skills and dining etiquette dinners offered. The program selects top high school seniors who demonstrate high academic commitment and interest as well as involvement in extracurricular activities, leadership and volunteerism.
When choosing her major, Getz faced the dilemma of selecting what that best fit her interests. She was interested in multiple sciences, but could not decide on a direction. After receiving a suggestion that she channel her love for the sciences into engineering, she spent a summer at NASA. This experience helped her discover the path she would take to combine both medical sciences and engineering.
Since biomedical engineering is not an emphasis currently offered through the department, Getz decided to major in engineering while also pursuing the pre-health track.
“What I’m doing isn’t typical at TCU, so I’ve worked with my advisors a lot to coordinate my schedule,” said Getz. “The engineering classes are very structured and I have to incorporate the pre-med classes into that schedule. Taking both the required engineering and pre-med classes simultaneously often presents a challenge.”
In addition to classes and labs, Getz also participates in undergraduate research on diabetes in Tristan Tayag’s (professor of engineering) lab. Getz’s research focuses on coating pancreatic islets, which are cells that regulate insulin levels. Diabetic patients can receive pancreatic islet transplants to eliminate the need for insulin injections, but they also undergo immunosuppressive therapy to ensure that the body does not reject the donor islets, which can lead to other complications. Coating the islets allows them to remain “hidden” from the immune system, making it easier for diabetic patients to receive transplants and eliminating the need for insulin injections.
“Working in the lab has made me realize what I can do after I graduate. It really allows for application of the various subjects and lets me incorporate all of the areas I’m interested in together,” Getz said. “I get to tie all the aspects and subjects together and gain real experience.”
Currently, Getz is undecided on her plans following graduation, but at the moment she is considering either attending graduate school to pursue a degree in biomedical engineering, or attending medical school, though she is not certain what specialty she would choose.