Corie Owen was pretty sure she wanted to be a wildlife veterinarian – until she went to Nepal for a year-long study abroad program during her sophomore year. While there, she volunteered at a veterinarian clinic but left the country questioning if that really was the career she wanted to pursue. Returning to fall classes at Cal Poly she started taking advanced cellular biology courses and found them interesting. In particular, she really enjoyed two embryology courses taught by Dr. Fernando Campos and asked if there were any openings in his lab. There was, and she has worked in his lab for one-and-a half years where she is studying lipid metabolism and cryopreservation of horse embryos with the aim of using this knowledge to improve the success rate of in vitro fertilization and embryo transfer.
This research experience has allowed her to learn general lab skills and these specific projects greatly improved her fine motor skills. She has realized research requires the ability to keep good notes and records to make sure the experiments stay organized and on track. Perhaps most surprising to Corie, is that research takes a lot more time than she anticipated. Sooner or later, something will go wrong with an experiment but Corie enjoys the challenge of trouble shooting to systematically and logically figure out what is wrong and how to fix it. Corie has been involved in all aspects of research but when she had to write her first abstract for a scientific conference she learned this was surprisingly difficult, but fun. Undaunted, once she finishes her program at Cal Poly, she plans to matriculate to a Ph.D. program.