Clarkie of the Week: Rachel Orlomoski
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Rachel Orlomoski (‘17) is from Canterbury, CT. She has two on-campus jobs and does research in Clark’s Spratt Lab purifying proteins. Rachel hopes to continue her research after Clark.
Scarlet: Why did you choose Clark?
Rachel: I wanted a small school, and I wanted something that wasn’t too far from home. I liked the idea of being able to do research as an undergrad. Since sophomore year of high school I’ve wanted to do cancer research. To get to do research with a professor was a big selling factor. The free fifth year was another bonus.
Scarlet: How did you first get involved in research?
Rachel: I started in Prof. Drewel’s lab doing work on a honeybee methylation project. Then he decided that he wanted to do more of a collaboration project with Prof. Dresch, and then also added Dr. Spratt’s lab for protein expression. I ended up working on a project to set up transcription factors.
Scarlet: What are you currently working on in the lab?
Rachel: Now I’m trying to purify that protein in the Spratt Lab. Hopefully I’ll get some binding affinity data to Dresch, and then she will be able to make an algorhythm. Basically we express the protein, and then we try to isolate and purify it. My protein is being very difficult to purify. It’s not soluable, and you really need a soluble protein to do any sort of trials with it. I’ve tried a bunch of different things, and I still haven’t been able to get it right yet, but I’m still working on it. Hopefully this semester we will have it done. For my fifth year project we are expanding on it to include another student, Aaron Bogle (‘18).
Scarlet: How is your current research related to cancer research?
Rachel: The protein itself does not directly relate to cancer research because it is a drosophila transcription factor. It’s kind of the bigger picture. It is for us to understand how strongly transcription factors bind to their target, which is something that people don’t really know right now. They know what different binding sites there are, but they don’t know the strength of those bonds. We are also trying to figure out if they bind more strongly to the sites that they most often bind to. Things like that. We just want to find out if there’s a range.
Scarlet: What do you want to do after Clark?
Rachel: Hopefully get a job and do medical research of some kind. But I’m not planning on doing a PhD right away or anything. I’m kind of just ready to be done, and I’d rather get paid and get some good experience. Then if in the future I want to get a PhD, that’s fine, but I might not even need it. I kind of want to continue to do benchwork at this point.
Scarlet: Do you have any hobbies or talents?
Rachel: I’ve played the french horn in concert band since freshman year. I’ve been playing for 12 years now. Originally I really considered doing a performance major. I looked at bunch of different music schools, I was prepping for auditions, and then I decided not to. I don’t think I’d be able to take the pressure of it. Ultimately, I decided to do science instead and band on the side, which is good for me. It was a big thing for me in high school though. I would audition for festivals and stuff. I did regional festivals and I did all-state twice. I auditioned for this national thing and I got accepted. The concert was at Carnegie Hall. That was awesome, but in college I’ve just done concert band. I don’t really have the time to practice as much as I used to.
I also do cross-stitch. It’s a big stress relief for me; I have all this pent up energy that most people would want to go to the gym and exercise, but I just sit and focus solely on that one thing. It’s fun. It takes a long time sometimes, and can be frustrating, but it’s good for me. The final product is nice.
Scarlet: What has your favorite project been?
Rachel: I’ve only made three things so far. Two have been gifts to friends, and then I made the Harry Potter emblem thing. It was my first project. It was a big undertaking, but it came out really nice. Now I’m making a “The Office” thing for one of my friends. The pattern is really frustrating, because it’s black and white, but there are all these colors in between to make it look like it came out of a copier. Hopefully she’ll like it, and hopefully I’ll finish it by her birthday in September.
Scarlet: What do you do for work?
Rachel: I have two jobs on campus: event planning and the chem stockroom. I know Ernie and stuff, so it seemed like a good fit. Originally we didn’t have a stock room manager, so it was mostly students prepping the labs. But now we have one, which is nice, so we are just helping him out. For event planning, we book all the spaces for events on campus. We book tabling, and meeting, rehearsal, and performance spaces for clubs. We work closely with SLP too.
Scarlet: Any fun facts?
Rachel: I have a dog named Abby, she’s a basset hound. I also had two goats growing up.
Scarlet: Did you have to milk them?
Rachel: They were boys, so that’s not possible. I got them in 5th grade. Their names were Toby and Max. We’ve always had chickens, or ducks, or that sort of thing. My dad always liked having animals. They were two pygmy goats. They just passed away about a year ago.
Scarlet: Sounds like you came from a small town, what was it like coming to the city?
Rachel: We don’t have a stop light or anything. There’s only like 5,000 people. I’ve kind of always hated the city, so it’s kind of shocking that I ended up here. Clark just kind of fit, and I enjoy the options of restaurants in Worcester.
Rachel: Taking any interesting classes your senior year?
Scarlet: I’m taking “Fairy Tales of the World.” I thought it seemed interesting. I have a lot of reading for classes, so that’s kind of new and interesting. I kind of exhausted all the science classes I wanted to take. I wasn’t going to take anatomy because I didn’t want to dissect things.
Thanks for the interview Rachel!