Biology- Biomedical Emphasis
Olivia Spaulding is from Lumberton, North Carolina and graduated in the spring of 2019 with a degree in biology with a biomedical emphasis. As a freshman at UNCP, Olivia received an early assurance scholarship that guaranteed her a spot into medical school at East Carolina University. Olivia received this scholarship all four years and was excited to start medical school in 2020. As an honors student, Olivia said, “Having first priority for class registration was always a plus, but the people that I got to interact with on a daily basis were amazing.” The honors college gave Olivia a small community to be a part of that shared a common focus of academics and hard work. She said, “Engaging with people who want to accomplish something big like myself helped me stay focused.” Olivia is thankful for all the friends that she made through the honors college throughout her time at UNCP.
Olivia’s senior project researched how glucose metabolism in a pregnant mother affects the development of the fetal heart. She also researched how heart birth defects correlate with rising levels of the mother’s glucose during pregnancy. Working alongside Dr. Marilu Santos, Olivia collected secondary published research related to glucose metabolism and heart development. She then compiled the collected research into a thesis paper for presentation at the end of the spring semester.
After graduation, Olivia attended UNC Chapel Hill Medical Education Development Program. She began medical school at East Carolina University in 2020. She advises honors students to take advantage of all the resources that are given to them. Olivia said, “I wish I would have developed relationships with my honors peers early on because it would have been more beneficial to me.” She encourages freshman honors students to meet and develop relationships with as many peers as possible. Her greatest memory at UNCP was during her junior year when she was taking organic chemistry. Olivia said, “I got really close with some of my friends in class because we would meet every day in Old Main to study, cry, and eat together in order to pass organic one and two.” She was happy to have developed those friendships that helped her through a tough time.
Mentor: Marilu Santos
Glucose Metabolism through Pentose Phosphate Pathway and how it affects the development of Congenital Heart Defects