Biology student wins prestigious Goldwater Scholarship

Devotion to lab work pays off for junior biology major

ChloePestrueYou can often find Central Michigan University junior Chloe Pestrue in the biology lab, for hours and even on weekends. Her passion for learning, experimenting and sharpening her lab skills has earned her the prestigious Goldwater Scholarship that supports student research and academic achievement.

Pestrue, a native of St. Louis, Michigan, did not have CMU on her original list of prospective colleges. She wanted to play basketball until she attended CMU's Centralis Competition and decided to become an Honors Program student here.

"I fell in love with CMU. I didn't think I would end up somewhere as big. I love the lab and the people," she said. "If I went to a bigger school, I don't think I would have gotten the personal attention that I do with the labs here."

As a student in the College of Science and Engineering, Pestrue's concentration is biomedical cellular and molecular biology.

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Trial and error in the lab

In the lab, Pestrue focuses on research and broadening her knowledge of genetics.

"It's a frustrating field. I've never had an experiment that went to plan perfectly. There's a lot of troubleshooting," Pestrue said. "The feeling of discovery keeps you coming back for more."

In her time as an undergraduate, she has pushed herself to continuously learn more about her field and challenge herself to find the answers through experimentation. She learned a lot of techniques ahead of time by spending hours in the lab, sitting at the microscope.

"I believe this gave me an edge as a student," she stated.

Faculty nurture student success

Pestrue credits Jennifer Schisa, a professor and lab instructor in the College of Science and Engineering, for a lot of her success as a student.

"She has been my biggest supporter in everything. She assists with the smallest of scholarships to helping me write a resume," Pestrue said. "She has never turned down extending a helping hand to me and fellow students."

Upon graduation in May 2022, Pestrue plans to obtain her doctoral degree with the eventual goal of working as a clinical laboratory geneticist, collaborating with other health care professionals.

Pestrue likes to lead by action and never gives up on her research work in the lab.

"This scholarship is a testament to my work," she said. "I want my actions to show how thankful I am for the scholarships that I have received and the support that CMU and Dr. Schisa have given me."

Pestrue will receive $7,500 in aid from the Goldwater Scholarship for her senior undergraduate year to further her research and education at CMU. She is the fourth Goldwater Scholarship winner at CMU, following winners in 2016, 2017 and 2020.

The U.S. Congress created the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation in 1986 to memorialize Sen. Barry Goldwater and support students pursuing research careers in natural sciences, math and engineering.

This year, 438 academic institutions nominated 1,256 students for the award, which 410 students received.

This story was written by University Communications intern, Caroline Kramer.

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