spotlight-category: Natural Sciences

Makenzie Reynolds ’18

Gardner-Webb Chemistry Professors gave alumna confidence to pursue graduate studies

“I always knew that my Gardner-Webb professors would help me with anything, whether it had to do with their class or not. They pushed us to do great things.”

After attending a larger college for a year, Mackenzie Reynolds ’18 transferred to Gardner-Webb University because of the smaller school setting. “I thought back to a visit I had at GWU when I was in high school,” reflected Reynolds, a native of Forest City, N.C. “I knew I would get one-on-one communication with my professors at GWU.”

Her professors provided the support and encouragement she needed to succeed, and Dr. Venita Totten gave her confidence to apply to graduate school programs. “I always knew that my Gardner-Webb professors would help me with anything, whether it had to do with their class or not,” Reynolds observed. “They pushed us to do great things. Dr. Totten cared so much for her students and wanted us to come up with our own ideas and experiment with things. I would never have considered graduate school if it wasn’t for her telling us about it and all the benefits.”

Reynolds graduated from Gardner-Webb with her Bachelor of Science in Chemistry and was accepted into the chemistry PhD program at Clemson (S.C.) University. Like GWU, she chose this program because of its smaller size. Working in the lab of Dr. Carlos Garcia, Reynolds studies paper-based sensors. When she completes her doctorate, her goal is to work in the field of forensic or environmental chemistry.

The transition to graduate school has been smooth. “My classes at GWU have helped me a lot in my graduate studies,” Reynolds shared. “At Clemson, the professors assume you know all the undergraduate concepts. I have understood them, because they were taught at Gardner-Webb.”

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