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Medicine and More
Lily Meierhoff's days are filled with serious research, planning events, and working alongside physicians. Oh, and schoolwork too!
Lillian (Lily) Meierhoff looked into the microscope, and she felt the thrill again. She was sitting at a lab table in her freshman biology class at UMD. The voices of the other students swirled around her as she adjusted the eyepiece. “Then the incredible detail appeared. It’s a fascinating world you can’t see with the naked eye,” she says. “It is just amazing.”
Lily had an advanced placement biology teacher at Chisago Lakes High School who introduced her to the excitement of biology and medicine. “That’s when I knew I wanted to become a doctor.” But sitting in class at UMD, she felt the certainty again. “Everything I’ve done at UMD adds to my confidence. This is what I want to do.”
Lily is still pursuing that dream by studying in the UMD biology department. with a special interest in cell and molecular biology. She also has a minor in Hispanic Studies.
She’s now about to start her senior year, and she’s already applying to medical schools. Her options are open, and she is looking at schools in the Midwest. The UM Medical School-Duluth is high on the list.
There’s a strong connection between Lily and Duluth. She was born in Duluth, although she moved to Lindstrom, Minn. when she was in middle school. She has a lot of family in Duluth, and her mother and grandfather attended UMD.
Lily is one of the dozens of UMD students who is working on an Undergraduate Research Opportunities Project (UROP). Dr. Jessica Sieber in the biology department is mentoring Lily on a research project entitled, “Isolation of novel diatoms that synthesize highly branched isoprenoids useful for biofuel improvement.”
It’s a study of single cell organisms that make up algae and finding ways to use them as an additive in bio-diesel fuel. Lily says the UROP is a way for her to broaden her knowledge and experiment with other aspects of biology.
“I really appreciate sustainability,” Lily says. “I’ve become more passionate about the natural environment since I've been in college.” She’s applying the skills she’s learned in the study of medicine to the study of sustainable energy. “I’m doing something entirely outside the medical field. It’s another way I can make a difference.”
Taking on Projects and Progress
Lily is grateful for the help she has received. She studied abroad in Salamanca, Spain in 2017 with a scholarship she received because of her involvement with the University Honors, and she is a recipient of a President’s Merit Scholarship.
She says, “I’m having a lot of fun with the Alumni Association, planning ways to connect students with alumni.” That’s because Lily received an Alumni Scholarship, which is only given to children and grandchildren of UMD alumni, and recipients get to work with the Alumni Association staff.
Lily seems to have endless energy. She volunteers at a shelter for homeless families with children, she’s a member of Mortar Board, a national honor society, and is a member of the Phi Sigma Sigma sorority.
In addition, Lily works as a medical scribe at Duluth’s St. Luke’s Hospital, where she assists physicians in documenting patient information.
Add it all up and Lily is busy. "I concentrate on projects I care about," she says. There are a lot of things Lily cares about, and UMD is better for it.