The Honors Community
- South Brunswick, N.J.
- Forensic science
Arjun Patel became involved with research while working one-on-one with a professor during his first year at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Based on the recommendation of VCU faculty members, Patel began working with biology professor Amanda Dickinson, Ph.D., on embryonic development and the creation of facial progress on frog embryos.
“Basically we harvested eggs from frogs by performing little surgeries,” Patel said.
Each week, Patel and two upperclassmen researched alongside Dickinson, analyzing embryo samples and observing how the mouth was forming after being exposed to different types of drugs and stimuli.
“It’s not a very widely researched topic,” Patel said. “We would get a reading about what sort of cellular activities caused mouth formations to go wrong and try to understand why they did.”
Patel plans to continue working with Dickinson and frog embryos throughout his time at VCU. As a member of The Honors College Guaranteed Admission Program, he’s preparing to go to medical school and using these opportunities toward a career as an orthopaedic surgeon.
“The human body during embryonic development, and development in general, is such a fascinating being,” Patel said. “I just know that I want to learn so much more about it.”
The Guaranteed Admission Program is what initially drew Patel to VCU while he searched for higher education options in high school.
“When I was applying to universities, my main goal was to get into a guaranteed admission program,” he said. “VCU is one of the best I found.”
Once arriving as a freshman, Patel also wanted to explore his options when it came time to choose a major. After researching forensic science, he knew it was a perfect fit.
“I’m very detail-oriented and very observant,” Patel said. “I thought I would definitely find my niche in forensic science. This is a good application of my skills and there are so many similarities between biology and forensic science that I wanted to branch off a little while staying in the same concept area.”
“My main goal was to get into a guaranteed admission program and VCU has one of the best.”