Andrea Ray’s conversation with another Purdue University graduate student confirmed that God had placed her in the right place at the right time.
“She said to me, ‘The only things I knew about you were that you spoke Spanish and that you believed in God,’ ” Ray recalled.
Ray (’11) talked to Maranatha science students recently about her graduate school experiences. She earned a full scholarship to Purdue’s Interdisciplinary Life Sciences program, where she is pursuing a doctorate in microbiology.
“This was a door that God opened up for me, and I’m very excited about the opportunity,” Ray said. “God gifted me with the abilities and talents to make this work and He opened the doors.”
Ray described experiences that are part of working in the research laboratories of a large university—long hours, demanding professors who rarely supervise labs, and difficult coursework.
“Grad classes are significantly harder, and there’s no one keeping you accountable,” Ray said.
She has also been told horror stories of students who had been nearly two years into a project before being told of a flaw in their research mechanism, causing the student to start over and spend even more years completing the work.
Ray did say that she was blessed to have joined a lab team supervised by a fair and diligent professor. Their research deals with an enzyme in E. coli bacteria, also found in human cells, which may have an application to cancer research.
“The best way to learn research techniques is to do them,” Ray said. “Next to research skills, writing is your best asset. It’s easier to tell people about your exciting research results if you can write well.”
Finding a good church home is another key to graduate school success, Ray said. She has found international students to be the most open to conversations about Christ.
When the class concluded, Science Department faculty member Dr. Yingguang Liu had his picture taken with students who helped write a paper that will be presented at the International Conference on Creationism next year. Those students included Ray, David Chadwick, Brittany Thompson, Emily Mackey, Olivier Muller, and Rusty Siedschlag.