Ream researching PCOS with Bluffton graduate/Cornell doctoral student
This summer Meghan Ream ’22, a triple major in biology, pre-medicine and nutrition and dietetics, is exploring the link between diet and fertility while researching polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). The Delphos, Ohio, native is collaborating with 2018 Bluffton graduate Laura Galley, a research assistant and student in the nutrition science Ph.D. program at Cornell University.
When Galley reached out to her former professors to see if there were any Bluffton students interested in working on PCOS research with her, Ream was at the top of their list.
“I think it’s very important that you develop relationships with your professors and that they know what type of experiences you’re looking for,” said Ream. “They’ll make opportunities happen if you just let them know.”
For the research assistantship, Ream was awarded a $1,500 Bluffton University Summer Discovery Grant. The grant allows students to design their own 4-6 week experience to further explore their calling. Ream’s main duty in conjunction with Cornell’s Lujan Laboratory is to develop educational resources for clinical trial participants.
“Being on my own with this information to figure out has pushed me to think outside of the box and exercise my critical reasoning and analysis skills,” said Ream. “This opportunity is allowing me to really think and explore abstract thoughts.”
Ream prepared for the experience by earning research certifications. Along with the research assistantship, they’ll be a valuable part of her resume, and Ream paid for them with a Professional Enrichment Grant provided by Bluffton’s Women’s Council. Ream was initially going to use the funds for housing and travel to and from Cornell’s Lujan Laboratory, but changes were necessary due to the spread of COVID-19.
“I was going to go to Cornell this summer and be at the lab and have the opportunity to interact with a lot more people,” said Ream. “But we figured out how to make the experience virtual. I’m extremely grateful to have this opportunity.”
Working in health care settings since high school, Ream truly practiced adaptability and flexibility while working as a patient care technician this spring at Blanchard Valley Hospital in Findlay. Ream grew up surrounded by medical professionals in her family and plans to attend medical school following graduation.
“I spent 200 hours on the COVID unit and it confirmed some things for me,” said Ream. “This disease is brand new, but I saw the doctors remain calm and confident. It really made me want to learn more about infectious diseases.”
This fall, Ream is looking forward to taking a challenging course load of mostly science classes. Outside of class, she’s student senate president, Bluffton University Nutrition Association (BUNA) president, a science club officer, chemistry tutor and ministry assistant.
She’s also looking forward to staying in touch with Galley.
“I’ve really enjoyed getting to know her,” said Ream. “We’ve had meetings every other week since last August, and she’s given me a lot of great advice.”