An early finish: Senior will graduate in three and a half years - Purdue Exponent: Special Sections

An early finish: Senior will graduate in three and a half years

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Posted: Monday, December 2, 2013 10:00 am | Updated: 12:24 pm, Mon Dec 2, 2013.

After coming to Purdue with 31 Advanced Placement credits, one senior will conclude her college career of three and a half years by giving the student address at winter commencement.

Erin Nicklow is a senior in biochemistry in the College of Agriculture from Medina, Minn., and will graduate this month after just three and a half years. Nicklow was chosen to give a five-minute address as the student responder in the first division of the December graduating class after being nominated by her research mentor, Joe Ogas, an associate professor of biochemistry.

“Erin is one of those rare individuals who is outstanding, not just because of the depth of her abilities, but because of the breadth of her contributions,” Ogas said. “Whether doing research in a lab, engaging in outreach with elementary students or leading activities at her sorority, Erin brings energy and passion to whatever she does, and she has made a lasting difference during her time at Purdue.”

In addition to completing undergraduate research, Nicklow is also active in Alpha Xi Delta, and was chosen as one of 40 seniors at Purdue to become a member of Mortar Board, an honor society that selects initiates based on service and leadership.

“(Mortar Board) is such a unique group because its members have succeeded on campus in diverse ways,” Nicklow said. “There are athletes and science nerds, all of whom work really well together.”

Nicklow decided to graduate early after completing her degree requirements ahead of schedule, largely because of her 31 Advanced Placement credits, and recognizing the advantage of saving the cost of a semester’s tuition as an out-of-state student. Although her friends “keep begging her to stay,” Nicklow said she does not regret her decision.

“There are times when I feel like I’m missing my senior year, but because I knew I was graduating in three and a half years, I haven’t left everything to the last minute,” she said. “In the last year, I’ve done all those senior bucket list things.”

Over the last three and a half years, Nicklow said she has come to appreciate the many opportunities offered at Purdue. Although she had already completed her Spanish minor, Nicklow studied abroad in Buenos Aires this summer, taking Spanish courses and living with a host family.

“People say it’s such a big school, but it really feels small to me,” she said. “Because it is so big, you want to tap into all the resources it offers. There’s so much here. That’s been the best part for me – getting to know people in my areas, but also spreading my wings.”

After graduation, Nicklow plans to apply to Ph.D. programs in biochemistry in preparation for a career in scientific research.

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