Newman University graduate Liz Peuchen received a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry in the spring of 2014.
Now, Peuchen is working on her Ph.D. at Notre Dame and in the process of doing cutting edge research in her field.
Peuchen, who minored in math and history and spent time with the cross-country team and student government association during her time at Newman, said the university played a large role in getting her to where she is today.
“The professors in the chemistry department really pushed you,” she said. “Newman will send you to where ever you want to go, pretty much.”
For Peuchen, it did just that.
With the help of Newman faculty, Peuchen said she was able to find strong graduate schools that focused on analytical chemistry and decided, with the flip of a coin, on Notre Dame.
Peuchen said that her transition from Newman to her graduate school was quite smooth.
“Coming from high school to college, I did not feel prepared,” she said. “However, coming from Newman to Notre Dame, I did fee prepared. Actually more prepared than a lot of my classmates because at Newman they really make us understand the material. We didn’t have a test with just one answer, rather we had to think through the questions which actually really helped us because we developed critical thinking.”
Peuchen, who is currently doing research on spinal chord regeneration, said Newman left her ready to dive into the field of research and that her professors at Notre Dame took notice.
She was able to research during her first year of graduate school, she said, without a professor or anyone else alongside her having to teach her or show her the ropes.
It wasn’t just the research setting that Newman prepared Peuchen for, but it also readied her for national fellowship applications.
Peuchen received the National Science Foundation fellowship, which will pay for the rest of her graduate school education.
She said the strong service background of Newman University helped to prepare her for this fellowship, which is based off an individuals broader impacts and intellectual merit.
Although Peuchen is now a member of the Fighting Irish, she still keeps tabs on the Newman campus and is excited about the new science building soon to be underway.
“The old building had a lot of character, but I’m glad they’re getting a new building. It need to be done because the science department is such an important part of Newman that we need to be in a building that we can learn in 365 days of the year and not just when the weather works out,” she said.
However, Peuchen did reiterate the importance of the faculty during her time at Newman.
“I think, more than the building, it was the professors and the people in the building that made the difference,” she said.
Peuchen said once she completes her Ph.D. in two and a half year, she plans to return to Kan. or the Great Plains area and pursue a career in industry with research and development.
Pursuing a career in research isn’t the most common for Newman chemistry majors, who usually go on to the medical field after graduation, but Peuchen feels Newman is capable of taking its students wherever they want to go.
“Newman really give you the opportunities, so you’ll have the skills to success,” she said.
Interested in Science?
You might be interested in the related undergraduate programs below: