After dropping out of high school, Anthony Smith wasn’t sure what he wanted to do. He worked a few different jobs, including washing cars, before completing his GED and starting classes in Automotive Technology at Kennedy-King College. Having unexpectedly discovered an interest in biology while taking an entry-level biology class as an elective, he is now on his way to a Ph.D. at Northwestern University after gaining early acceptance to the Driskill Graduate Program in Life Sciences. He will start in Fall 2018 after completing his Bachelor of Science in Biology at Northeastern Illinois University (NEIU) in Spring 2018. His goal is to conduct research regarding bio-nanotechnology and its application to disease.

His passion for biology has led him to research opportunities at NEIU, Michigan State University, and Northwestern University. It was this latest internship at Northwestern that helped him to land a spot in the Driskill Graduate Program, but he has also interned for the U.S. Department of Agriculture, studied a nano-particle that can detect breast cancer, and worked on the research of a microscopic worm and how it might be used as a bio-sensor to detect the bacterium associated with tuberculosis.

While studying at KKC, Anthony was a part of the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society, which he says gave him a sense of community. He also credits Dr. Charlie Shaw, who taught his first biology course at KKC, as inspiring him to pursue further education in the sciences. His advice to CCC students is to seek out a mentor, like he has in Dr. Shaw, for guidance and general support, maximize the school’s resources like the Tutoring Center, Career Services and transfer opportunities, and take advantage of any opportunity to network for your future career. He also stresses: “don’t be timid about exploring new areas. It was not until I randomly enrolled in a general biology course at KKC as an automotive technology major that I discovered my passion for the biological sciences!”

We can’t wait to see what Anthony does next, and look forward to the contributions he will no doubt make in the world of biology.

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