May 12, 2017 at 11:15am
Dane Lisser

Millikin biology major awarded Clinical Nuclear Science Fellowship

Whitney Gray

Millikin University biology major Whitney Gray, a junior from Greenville, Ill., has been named the recipient of the Summer 2017 Clinical Nuclear Science Fellowship at Decatur Memorial Hospital (DMH).

Gray will receive a $3,000 stipend, provided through the Decatur Memorial Foundation, and a $750 housing stipend from the Millikin University Institute for Science Entrepreneurship.

As part of the fellowship, Gray will be working at DMH for eight weeks in the area of nuclear medicine. Gray will be working with nuclear pharmacists to learn about the synthesis and quality control involved with PET radiopharmaceuticals.      

"We are very pleased to be partnering with Millikin to offer this fellowship," said Karen Schneller, executive director of the Decatur Memorial Foundation. "The project based learning paradigm that Millikin has adopted for its students pairs perfectly with the clinical based opportunities that Decatur Memorial Hospital offers. It always has been, and always will be, our commitment to provide opportunities for the best and the brightest, as we know they will become our health care leaders in the years to come."

Gray will be attending medical school after she graduates from Millikin and plans to go into rural family medicine practice.

"I was excited and surprised that I was picked for the fellowship," said Gray. "It's a great opportunity to get involved in the medical field and to get involved with observational work."

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Gray added, "I think my experience as a laboratory teaching assistant in chemistry and other leadership positions have prepared me for this position. Through Performance Learning, I'm not only learning to do the work myself but I'm learning it in a way that I can teach it to other students."

Formed by Dr. David Horn, professor of biology, Dr. George Bennett, professor of chemistry, and Dr. Casey Watson, associate professor of physics and astronomy at Millikin, the Institute for Science Entrepreneurship serves as a bridge between external clients, faculty and students of Millikin to provide high quality services for science-related organizations.

"The Millikin University Institute for Science Entrepreneurship is very pleased that Whitney Gray is the recipient of the 2017 Clinical Nuclear Science Fellowship," said Dr. Horn. "Thanks to the Decatur Memorial Foundation, Whitney will have a Performance Learning opportunity that will prepare her well for a future career in medicine."

Millikin faculty leaders from chemistry, biology and physics worked with health care business leaders at Decatur Memorial Hospital and Zevacor Molecular to launch a clinical nuclear science program; also a part of Millikin's Institute for Science Entrepreneurship. Science faculty created two new courses in Clinical Nuclear Science co-taught by physics, chemistry and biology faculty, and Millikin students and faculty have made on-site visits to Decatur Memorial Hospital and Zevacor Molecular in Noblesville, Ind., home of the largest privately-owned cyclotron in North America.

The Millikin Clinical Nuclear Science Program provides upper-level biology, chemistry and physics majors with another pathway from being a science student to developing a science career.

"I hope Whitney will get an appreciation for what we do in nuclear pharmacy and how we prepare our product," said Dr. Scott Chance, Zevacor Molecular, pharmacy manager, Decatur Pharmacy. "She will be applying for medical school and this will be a good experience to see going forward."   

In reference to what she hopes to learn from the fellowship, Gray said, "I hope to see background work and to see what the nuclear pharmacists go through to make diagnostic materials. I'm looking forward to getting extra experience in the medical field." 

For more information about Millikin's Institute for Science Entrepreneurship, visit millikin.edu/InstituteForScienceEntrepreneurship.