Becoming A Vandal Down To the Molecular Level

Growing up with dyslexia, Sarah Reichman was drawn to molecular biology, fascinated by gene modification.

While she credits her learning disability struggles with who she is today, she does wonder what life would have been like if her genes had been modified to take out dyslexia.

“The idea that we can make genetic modifications to have people not go through that, it’s really interesting,” says Reichman, a senior in molecular biology. “We could see a much more equal society.”

Over the last four years, Reichman has grown into her own. Though she was offered a scholarship out east, the Pocatello native has excelled and built leadership skills in her own backyard.

Reichman compared cost after scholarships at out-of-state universities and Idaho in-state tuition, and weighed the scholastic opportunities. She was confident staying in Idaho was right choice.

“It was the best decision I’ve ever made,” says Reichman. “I’ve had such a fantastic time here, I’ve grown so much and I’ve learned so much.”

At a smaller school, Reichman says she has been able to get to know her professors, accept leadership roles and work as an undergraduate in labs. Though she is currently working in a lab at Washington State University assisting primary researchers with protein and DNA extractions, preparation of competent cells and enzyme activity assays, she also worked in an Idaho lab to help determine functions and interactions of proteins that could lead to cancerous tumor reduction.  Working in two labs at two universities has given her two different perspectives.

“It was really great to jump into lab research as an undergraduate and see how different labs work,” says Reichman.

She’s also had the chance to cross disciplines and work with the chemical engineering department to see how her major applies to other applications on a competitive team project. She also is involved in the University Honors Program.

Reichman, who expects to graduate this May, is joining Teach for America, Memphis core, a prominent teaching program. She also is considering taking a year off to travel before going to graduate school.

“Ultimately, I want to do something that matters, have some impact on the world in a positive way,” says Reichman. “I really want to make a difference.”

While her future hasn’t fully come into place yet, there is one thing Reichman is sure.

“I know truly and deeply that I am a Vandal,” says Reichman.

MMBB programs join the College of Science

Effective Summer 2011 the former Department of Microbiology, Molecular Biology, and Biochemistry (MMBB) in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) has been dissolved. The College of Science is excited to welcome seven faculty members formerly with MMBB into the Department of Biological Sciences. (Six other MMBB faculty will go to departments still within CALS.) Responsibility for the undergraduate programs in Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Biochemistry and Biotechnology, and Medical Technology have also transferred to the Department of Biological Sciences. Teaching the courses necessary for those degrees will remain a collaborative effort between both Science and Agriculture departments and faculty.


Sarah Reichman, profiled in this article, is an example of the excellent quality of students in these majors. The College of Science is delighted to be the new home for these outstanding students, faculty, and programs.