Most of us will never have any awareness of the microbial fomites all around us—or even know what they are, for that matter. Nor will we take the time to wonder whether or not an antibiotic-resistant bacteria can thrive on those fomites. But Ciani Sellers could explain it all, because she’s done the research.
She’s also spent some of her summer research hours identifying obscure bacterial inhabitants of contaminated metal-working fluid and quantifying fungal spores in the air in varying locations around campus. “It was incredibly fascinating stuff and I would do it all again if I could!” says the Integrated Science major.
When she’s not in class, doing research, or studying, you might find Sellers working as a teaching assistant in biology classes. Or you might see her hurrying off to a meeting of the Environmental Action Club, of which she is vice president. You might catch a glimpse of her outside, working in the campus community garden. She’s a member of the Black and Gold President’s Council , the First Generation organization, and is Sigma Phi Theta’s Little Sis. “Checklists and detailed calendars are my best friend!” she admits. “It’s definitely a challenge to be involved in so many extracurriculars, but it’s so fulfilling to know you’ve played a major part in the development of some of these organizations.”
If you’re lucky, you might even hear Sellers singing with the university’s treble choir or performing a solo in Chapel. “My favorite TLU tradition is Choir Tour and Vespers! Being a part of the TLU choir is incredible, and to be able to see the impact your music can have on others and how just a handful of notes performed well can influence someone’s day. I’m thankful to have had the opportunity to change lives through our choir’s music and hope that the tradition will continue to share love and peace long past my departure from TLU.”
Back in the classroom, Sellers has been pursuing her fascination with neurology and the brain. “I’ve always had an avid interest in the workings of scientific systems. There is still so much we can learn and understand from our minds and I will continue to enjoy learning about the neurological processes of our brains and what can come about from delving even further into its functions.”
That love for neurology and curiosity about the way things work led Sellers to the TLU science department—a corner of campus which she is quick to applaud. “The overwhelming support of the professors in succeeding in STEM gives us students the drive to push through those tough classes and make it out the other side.” She is especially grateful for the guidance of Dr. Robert Jonas, Dr. Danielle Grove, Dr. Alan Lievens, Dr. Stephanie Perez, and Dr. Amanda Kaminski, saying they “have truly changed who I am and believed in me more than I did myself. I cannot stress enough how significant these professors have been in my time here at TLU and how much I admire their passion for what they do. They inspire me to retain the same love I have for science as they do in their respective fields and I could not have made it this far without them.”
What would Sellers say to students who might be considering coming to TLU? Number one: don’t be afraid. “Going to college can feel daunting and a ginormous step outside of your comfort zone, but having the courage to take the next steps in your academic career will benefit you in the long run. There are heaps of opportunities provided to you in college that are hard to find outside of it, and connections with your professors and peers can propel you into rewarding prospects once you graduate, so there is much to consider when thinking of TLU!”
“Having the liberty to explore who I am and my interests in a supportive setting has allowed me to re-ignite my enthusiasm for neurosciences and neurology.” Sellers is looking to dig even deeper into her studies after she graduates this May. She plans to prepare for the MCAT, PCAT, and GRE, then attend either PA or medical school. “I want to apply my passion for the brain in the medical field and be a respectable provider like the inspirational PA’s I’ve had the privilege of shadowing,” she says.
Big goals, but her years at TLU, above all else, have taught her to aim high—and whether she’s out in the garden, conducting research in the lab, or singing her heart out, she’ll most definitely get there.