College of Arts and Sciences
Chemistry and biochemistry major
Dodge City, Kan.
Choosing a major
As a first generation college student, Jenny Barriga knew she wanted to learn more about the world around her. The sciences have given her that opportunity.
"With chemistry there are infinite learning possibilities and so much we don't know," Barriga said. "For me, it is really interesting to keep learning and be able to help others through what I learn."
Opening doors beyond the classroom
Barriga is heavily involved in undergraduate research with the guidance of Stefan Bossmann, professor of chemistry. Her research on breast cancer has given her opportunities beyond the classroom. Barriga has participated in a summer internship with the National Institutes of Health, is a co-author on research journal publications and has been awarded a prestigious Barry M. Goldwater national scholarship.
"Being awarded the Goldwater scholarship says that the committee believes I am going to make an impact in my field, which is a real honor," Barriga said.
Melding arts and sciences
Though Barriga loves the sciences, she also enjoys the arts. She has discovered that it takes patience to learn anything and that her experiences in chemistry have strengthened her ability to focus on her music.
"When I have free time I enjoy playing classical guitar," she said. "A little bit of memorization and a little bit of patience goes hand in hand regardless if you are learning music, chemistry or biology."
Finding support and encouragement
Barriga's initial visit to K-State was through a summer research experience with Bossmann while she was a student at Dodge City Community College. Once introduced to campus, she found numerous opportunities to further her academic career. Aside from the close-knit community she has through the university's Developing Scholars Program, she has worked with Jim Hohenbary, College of Arts and Sciences assistant dean for nationally competitive scholarships.
"When I was at NIH they had a seminar on how to apply for grad school and what to put on the application," Barriga said. "A lot of it was review from the things Jim had already told me. I feel the college has prepared me for applying for things like grad school and grants."