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Student Spotlight: FSU Biological Sciences Senior Wins Endowed Research Award

Barbara Dietrick

As author and motivational speaker Simon Sinek once wrote, “Working hard for something we don’t care about is called stress; working hard for something we love is called passion.” Florida State University senior Barbara Dietrick embodies the latter of this sentiment in more ways than one—from her involvement in Greek life and student athletics to leadership positions and undergraduate research.

Dietrick, a biological sciences major, was named captain of the Golden Girls, Florida State’s official dance team, and is an active member with Chi Omega. Inspired by her experience in the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program as a freshman, Dietrick is now a UROP leader who strives to encourage first- and second-year students to pursue their research interests.

While time management is a major key to balancing her extensive involvement and success, which includes a 4.0 GPA, Dietrick’s love and passion for these activities are what really fuels her drive.

“I do not think I would be able to get through each day if I was doing activities just to improve my resume,” Dietrick said. “My involvement constitutes a way to better myself and those around me to help FSU and the surrounding community be the best it can be.”

Dietrick’s research on neurological diseases focuses on microcephaly, a congenital condition associated with incomplete brain development. Under the mentorship of Associate Professor Timothy Megraw, Dietrick’s research earned her the Helen Louise Lee Undergraduate Research Award. Endowed by Florida State alumnus Dr. James Lee in honor of his mother’s career as a teacher in Escambia and Okaloosa counties and her strong advocacy for education, this award provides student support for mentored research and creative endeavors.

“With this award, I was able to stay over the summer in Tallahassee and defend my Honors in the Major Thesis project,” Dietrick explained. “Private support shows me that people care about student successes and believe in our ability as the next generation. For my academics and work in research, the recognition is always nice to have, but for me, it serves as more of a type of encouragement and validation that I am moving in the right direction.”

With her Honors in the Major Thesis successfully defended earlier this year, Dietrick continues to work in Megraw’s lab and hopes the work will cumulate in a publication. She has also been interviewing at medical schools and applying for fellowships to continue her education in medicine and research.

“I look forward to my future and I know every experience will help me become a better version of myself.”

To learn more about Dietrick and her research, please visit fsu.edu/profiles/dietrick. To support Florida State students and programs, please click here to make a donation.