#ElonGrad 2021 spotlight: Savannah Kile, biochemistry

In this series, Elon College, the College of Arts and Sciences is shining the spotlight on distinguished members of the Class of 2021 from a wide array of disciplines.

Honors Fellow Savannah Kile ’21 pursued her biochemistry major to be able to apply course topics to laboratory research. She says chemistry faculty supported her in her academic pursuits and personal growth.

Savannah Kile '21
Savannah Kile ’21

Department of Chemistry faculty named Kile a co-recipient of the department’s Senior Biochemistry Award, along with Margaret Hughes ’21. She is a member of Phi Kappa Phi, Phi Lambda Upsilon and Phi Eta Sigma honor societies and was the recipient of the Cheek and Ned F. Brannock chemistry scholarships.

Tell us about your undergraduate research.

As an Honors Fellow, I had to conduct two years of research that culminated in a thesis. Right around the time I was picking my topic, my mom was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis (RA). I took this opportunity to dive deep into the research surrounding RA and develop a project that could fill in some of the gaps surrounding the pathology of RA. My project was titled “The Effect of the Myeloperoxidase Enzyme on Protein Tissue Oxidation and its Possible Implications in Rheumatoid Arthritis.”

It has been awesome to add to the growing research field surrounding RA that could eventually lead to a cure for my mom. I presented at the National Conferences for Undergraduate Research and Elon’s Spring Undergraduate Research Forum.

What is your proudest accomplishment while at Elon?

As the coordinator of Adventures in Leadership (AIL), one of Elon’s summer pre-orientation programs, I was able to work with an amazing group of peers to revamp the program, making it more accessible to all students. Watching all the hard work come together and see the program succeed was such a humbling and great experience. Many of the first-year students who went through the program voiced how grateful they were to have a program that helped them make their first friends at Elon and helped with their adjustment to college. It also fostered my love for the outdoors, which has become a big part of my identity.

Did you have a mentor or professor you worked closely with? How has that relationship enhanced your Elon experience?

Professor of Chemistry Kathy Matera is my research mentor, but she is also so much more! She is constantly there to support me and help me reach my goals. No matter what is going on in my life, I know I can count on Dr. Matera to be there to listen and give me great advice. It has been an honor to work with such an intelligent and knowledgeable professor. I know that my Elon experience would not be complete without this mentorship.

What are your plans following graduation?

I will be getting my master’s in science in genetic counseling at the Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.

What advice would you give to future Elon students?

Elon has a ton of opportunities. Use your time here to figure out what you are passionate about. Take classes that sound interesting, try clubs that you might enjoy, and take on leadership positions! College is the time to try new things, so use these opportunities to figure out what you love!

What’s your favorite Elon tradition?

I have always loved traditions which is one of the reasons I chose Elon! My favorite one is the luminaries.  There is nothing better than standing out in the cold with a warm cup of hot chocolate, listening to music, and watching as the quad lights up with your best friends!