Gretchen Holtgrefe

Gretchen Holtgrefe Student

Erie, Pennsylvania
High School
McDowell High School
College of Science and Engineering
May 2021
Gretchen loves guinea pigs.

Gretchen Holtgrefe's experiences at CMU started before she was a student. 

During her senior year of high school, Gretchen came to CMU for a weeklong Medical Laboratory Science Summer Camp through the U.S. Naval Sea Cadet Corps.

She was captivated by chemistry and biochemistry professor Ajit Sharma's lecture and the opportunity to do research as a freshman.

That opportunity and winning a Centralis Scholarship confirmed CMU was the right place for her.

"Being able to do cancer research at only 19 years old is amazing. Not only does it look good on graduate school applications, but I'm also making a really big difference," she said.

While the classes she takes as she pursues her passion for science are challenging, her instructors are always willing to help.

"The professors are very approachable and passionate," she said. "There are tons of resources on campus to help people be successful in these classes."

Her biggest success? Learning the lab skills to do research she'll use throughout her college career.

Over the summer, Gretchen will be learning about global citizenship while studying abroad in Japan.

Gretchen may have initially come to CMU to study science and participate in undergraduate research, but she's also found a passionate, supportive community on campus.

"I'm surrounded by passionate people who genuinely want to use their talents to change the world for the better," Gretchen said.

Fast Facts


Gretchen is the SGA representative for the American Chemical Society Student Members.


Her favorite place on campus is the Biosciences Building.


Gretchen started doing cancer research during her first year on campus.