Biochemistry major Gabrielle Lessen ’18 from Alexandria, Louisiana, has been chosen as one of three new Beckman Scholars from Texas A&M University. Lessen impressed the faculty, staff, and student application reviewers and interview panel with her obvious intelligence, drive, passion for knowledge and research, and her excellent communication skills. These attributes were a perfect fit for Lessen’s description of herself in her application as “hard-working” and “friendly”. Lessen has spent her first year in Aggieland as a member of the University Honors program and the Honors Housing Community. Her interest in research led her to join the DeBakey Undergraduate Research Program as a first semester freshman, working with a team that models the flow of fluid through the kidneys.
Lessen also got an early start on leadership development as a participant in the MSC Champe-Fitzhugh International Honors Leadership Seminar the summer before matriculating at TAMU and continued her development as a member of the MSC Freshmen Leadership Organization “Freshmen in Service and Hosting” or FISH. Lessen has a long history of community service and told our interview panel that if she can choose a route that will help more people, she would choose it “in an instant”. Her interest in cancer research nicely combines her talent for science and research with her desire to help a large number of people. Lessen has maintained a perfect 4.0 GPR while acting as a National Aggie Scholar Ambassador and as a member of the Biochemistry and Genetics Society, as well as being active in her church.
In June Lessen will start her journey as a Beckman Scholar with a research project in the laboratory of Dr. Dorothy Shippen studying plant telomeres, the specific structures at the ends of chromosomes that keep them from unraveling. Telomeres have been implicated in aging and cancer as well as in diseases linked to chromosome instability, making telomere studies an excellent match for Lessen’s interests.