Anna Everett (‘22) grew up watching her mom struggle with an autoimmune disease. Noting how research at biotech companies enabled her mom to get the treatments she needed sparked Everett’s interest in scientific research. “I think I always saw my family struggling with their health, and it made me think a lot about medicine in general,” she says. Everett eventually chose to major in neuroscience, focusing on neurological disorders such as dementia and Alzheimer’s. She also added biophysics as a second major to explore her interest in math.
Everett describes neuroscience as “the last frontier of biological sciences” because we know so little about it. As she learns more about neurogenerative diseases in her classes, Everett's desire to have a big impact in that area of science grows.
“I just don’t think the [current] treatments for those diseases are very good,” she says. “If I could do anything to deepen our understanding of how those diseases work, I think that could help a lot of people.”
Everett has worked on multiple research projects with her professors, but it was her research with professor Jeff Edwards on preventative treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that recently earned her the prestigious Barry Goldwater Scholarship. She was one of only 410 students awarded the scholarship out of 5,000 applicants. The scholarship will cover the cost of tuition until Everett graduates. She hopes to apply her skills in math, physics, and neuroscience research to the medical field.
Along with her PTSD research with Edwards, Everett worked with professor Jordan Yorgason for nine months modeling the kinetics behind an enzyme in the brain related to addiction. Everett enjoys researching projects like this one as well as writing and presenting her findings. A paper she is writing on the kinetics and addiction project lists her as the first author due to her contributions and the fact that she initiated the project idea.
“When you’re doing your research, you know more about something than anyone else in the world because it’s not published yet,” she says. “I feel like each of my research projects has helped me become a better scientist.”
Everett says her teaching experience also makes her a better researcher. She has been a chemistry teaching assistant for four semesters, working with students in both the general college chemistry and organic chemistry classes. Her talent for mentoring shows through the 100% attendance rate in her sections and the many students who ask to have her as a TA.
In the future, Everett hopes to earn a PhD in neuroscience and focus on neurogenerative or neurological diseases so she can help people in situations like her mother’s. She also says she would love to teach and conduct research as a professor someday.