September 28, 2017

CARTERVILLE — Europe Doan of Marion went from being homeschooled to Duke University, a major academic leap that, she says, John A. Logan College helped facilitate.

Today, as a Ph.D. candidate at Duke’s Department of Immunology, Doan, 21, is using her education to seek a cure for cancer.

Duke is consistently included among the best universities in the world by numerous university rankings.

“My wonderful math and chemistry instructors at John A. Logan College gave me the confidence to major in biochemistry, a field I had previously considered to be very tough and very scary,” Doan said.

Doan was homeschooled from K-12, but at age 15 she began classes at Logan as a dual enrollment student. It was through John A. Logan College that she took her first basic chemistry course.

“And I absolutely fell in love with it (chemistry),” Doan said. “I also took several inspiring courses in biology, math, anatomy, and physiology which further pushed me toward the scientific realm,” she said.

Doan pointed to Logan instructors such as James Elliott, instructor of chemistry; Jennifer Jeter, associate professor of mathematics; Donna Ford, associate professor of life science/biology; Kathirave Giritharan, (now retired) associate professor of mathematics; Richard LaSalle, instructor of biology; and Robert McKenzie, instructor of chemistry, for giving her the most inspiration.

“These passionate and kind teachers really motivated me to pursue science as a career,” Doan said. “There is a vast belief that one shouldn’t major in science because it is ‘too hard,’” Doan explained. “I am fortunate that my teachers at JALC convinced me that, while science may be challenging at times, excellence is achievable if you’re motivated and passionate about it, and I’m thankful that these teachers instilled scientific curiosity and passion in me.”

Doan said that her love for knowledge and learning was also “greatly amplified” through her involvement in Logan’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa honor society.

“As a member, vice president, and later, president of the chapter, I gained important skills in writing, thinking, and team leading that I still rely on today,” she said. “It was wonderful to be surrounded by fellow students who embraced their inner nerds and continuously intensified mine.”

Doan praised Adrienne Barkley Giffin, JALC’s Phi Theta Kappa advisor, for encouraging her “and always pointing out my strengths.”

Doan said Giffin pointed her in the direction of the Southern Illinois Bridges to the Baccalaureate Program, a collaboration between Logan and Southern Illinois University Carbondale designed to give university research experience to community college students.

“It was through this program that I truly learned how to think like a scientist, learned about graduate school, and discovered my desire to work in a research laboratory,” Doan said. “In this program, I had the opportunity to work on several different research projects spanning many fields, such as neurophysiology, molecular biology, microbiology, and cancer biology.”

Doan explained that she graduated from SIUC with three years of research experience due to the Southern Illinois Bridges Program. “And since research is the main component of a Ph.D. program, I am confident that my research experience set me apart and led to my acceptance at Duke.”