Kimberly Shorter ’09 always knew that a white coat was in her future. Since childhood, Shorter had dreamt of becoming a medical doctor. But after conducting a research project with Dr. Neval Erturk in her senior year, she discovered a passion for scientific research and began to envision her life in the lab. While at Converse, Shorter double majored in biology and chemistry. She graduated from the University of South Carolina School of Medicine in the Biomedical Sciences Ph.D. track and is now Assistant Professor of Biology at the University of South Carolina – Upstate.
Shorter’s research project, “The Investigation of the Possible Genotoxicity of Carbaryl” studied the effects of pesticides on animals who received doses of the pesticide active ingredient called Carbaryl. “The animals’ bone marrow was extracted, studied and scored to determine if genetic damage did occur,” Shorter said. “My findings were significant; the ingestion of the did increase the number of young red blood cells that had more than one small nucleus which indicates it induced DNA damage.”
“At Converse I discovered who I was as a person. I became stronger through many experiences.”
After presenting her research, Shorter won an award at the South Carolina Environmental Conference for Best Poster Presentation and was chosen to represent South Carolina at the American Water Works Association and Water Environment Association. She also won an award at USC Upstate’s symposium for Best Presentation. “I had never really won anything before. I almost couldn’t believe it. I feel proud of the research I did. I accomplished something. I gained confidence in myself. I learned a great amount about scientific research as well,” Shorter said.
Shorter’s experience at Converse changed her course and prepared her for a bright future. “During my first 3 years at Converse, I always imagined myself as a medical doctor. It was all I wanted. But after doing scientific research, I realized how much I love it. It changed my life drastically. At Converse I discovered who I was as a person. I became stronger through many experiences. My professors were so helpful to me, and I felt like they really cared that I learned. From start to finish, I became an independent person.”