Biochemistry Student Ambassador

Laney Etheridge

Photo of Laney Etheridge.Laney is majoring in Biochemistry and minoring in Biology. She is a member of the Sally McDonnell Barksdale Honors College, Phi Kappa Phi Honors Society, and a Student Member of the American Chemical Society. In 2021 she won the Outstanding General Chemistry Student Award.

Why did you choose to attend UM?
I took a variety of factors into consideration when choosing where to complete my undergraduate degree. One of the main reasons I chose the University of Mississippi involves the atmosphere that the campus and the student body provide. I love that it feels like a small-town oasis as well as a place that holds many opportunities to get out of my comfort zone!

When and how did you choose your major(s)/minor(s)?
I have always had a love for science. Even when a lot of other parts of my life made little sense, biology and chemistry did. I chose a B.A. in Biochemistry because it offers the best of both worlds–I get to do a little of everything! I chose this degree path because of the various career paths that it offers. I could use this to get into medical school, which is the main goal at the moment. If I change my mind, I could also go into research and work in a lab! It’s a multifaceted degree, and I knew that the chemistry department had an encouraging work environment.

Why is your department a special place?
The chemistry department at the university has a very special atmosphere. There is no shortage of people that can help you achieve your academic goals! The professors are welcoming and encourage students to reach out with problems. Research and scholarship opportunities are offered regularly and can provide invaluable experience. There are also upperclassmen that are willing to provide insight and encouragement with many of the daunting classes!

Can you tell me about a professor or a class you’ve taken that has had the most impact on you?
I would have to say that my freshman year in general chemistry with Dr. Ritchie had a very significant impact on me. It was one of my first in-person science classes after the Covid-19 pandemic, and Dr. Ritchie managed to help me find my love for chemistry again. He created a positive work environment and always had the time to talk!

What has been one of your most memorable or enjoyable moments at UM?
One of my most memorable experiences occurred the very first night of Honors Welcome week my freshman year. I was taking a walk through campus and worrying that I had not made the right decision. I was walking by the Grove when all of a sudden I could see dozens of fireflies light up the grassy expanse. It felt enchanting. I took that moment as a sign that I needed to trust myself and the decisions that I would make about my future!

What do you hope to do after you graduate? What are your career goals/ plans for postgraduation?
After graduation, I hope to attend medical school! My interests right now lean more towards cardiology, but I’m open to exploring more opportunities as I learn more about the field of medicine.

What are you binge watching or reading right now?
I’m binging the show Bones at the moment. I hope to watch the new season of the Witcher soon! I love all things crime and fantasy.

What is one thing you wish you knew as an incoming freshman that you’d tell your past self (about the general college experience)?
I wish that I knew how important it was to get out of your comfort zone early! A place like the University of Mississippi has so much to offer someone. It is a shame to miss out on any of those opportunities due to fear of the unknown. There are a multitude of resources available to help every student succeed, and it’s never too late to take advantage of them!