An Interview with Elyahb Allie Kwizera, BS ’14, Chemistry

Elyahb Allie Kwizera STEM@Arkansas + Bear@EPIC

Elyahb Allie Kwizera
STEM@Arkansas + Bear@EPIC

Dr. Stone: Allie, what are you doing these days?

Allie: Since graduating UCA, I have been working in nanomedicinal chemistry research lab at The University of Memphis. Basically we use nanotechnology to treat cancer. My specific project is to synthesize magnetic-Optical Hybrid Nanoparticles for Isolation and Detection of Rare Cancer Cells in Whole Blood. I use the combination of gold and silver nanoparticles, with their optical properties, and Iron oxide nanoparticles which is known to have magnetic properties in order to synthesize a dual magnetic-hybrid nanoparticles. We coat them with different Raman Tags, then we use them for detection of cancer cells in blood.

Dr. Stone: That’s magnificent! How did UCA’s Residential College program help you get to graduate school?

Allie: Having lived in a learning community like STEM Residential College in Arkansas Hall and then in EPIC@Bear helped me a lot. I would probably start with the communication skills you gain in those learning communities. You learn how to cooperate with other people with different views and opinions and to transform those views into a constructive idea that can change many things. As PhD student, I have to know how to present my data and communicate them to people. You have to make sure they understand what you are telling them in a short amount of time. I learned these skills in EPIC@Bear Hall during several competitions that I was part of. I also learned how to collaborate with different people to run different projects. These skills followed me into my PhD program. It is just amazing how much you learn from a living and learning community without even knowing. I’d recommend all students to try it because whether your future career is in industry, academics, civil servant or a politician, you will always need to use these skills.