Champion of Science and Service: Katie Arnold

By Katy Shenk 
Elm Staff Writer

  From her first visit to campus, senior Katie Arnold knew she had found her future home.

“This was the first Division III college that I visited, and I pretty much immediately fell in love with it. It wasn’t that it met a checklist of things, it was more of a feeling,” she said.

After meeting with faculty members in the Biology Department and earning a spot on the field hockey team, Arnold realized that Washington College did complete her “checklist” after all.

A native of Hockessin, Del., Arnold is a biology major with an emphasis in cellular/molecular biology and infectious disease, and minors in chemistry and hispanic studies.

Although she entered the College looking to study physiology and health sciences, her coursework in toxicology and endocrinology piqued her interest in “the smaller stuff.” The combination of both classes also drove her capstone research toward studying the effects of chemical exposure on obesity.

“Obesity is normally explained by diet and lifestyle, but I took a spin to the obesity epidemic by examining endocrine disruptors, which are pretty much [man-made] chemicals. When we’re exposed to them, they’re actually activating cellular pathways to store fat,” she said.

Arnold compared the U.S., where chemicals are loosely regulated, to Europe, where they are highly regulated. She found that citizens of France and the United States actually have equal calorie intakes but vastly different obesity rates.

Her research intervenes with organizations like the Centers for Disease Control and the World Health Organization which attribute obesity to lifestyle choices.

Arnold received guidance from Dr. Aaron Krochmal and Dr. Mindy Reynolds of the biology department while writing her thesis.

“Katie is a great writer and presenter and from our conversations it was clear that she was fully engaged in the entire process. In the end she has produced a product which she should be very proud to call her own,” Dr. Reynolds said.

Outside of academics, Arnold is a member of the field hockey team, Habitat for Humanity, and works for SafeRide and Admissions. She is also the president of Omicron Delta Kappa, the College’s chapter of the National Leadership Society, and a member of the biology, chemistry, and Spanish honor societies.

During her junior year she studied abroad for a semester in Madrid, Spain.

“It’s something I didn’t think was practical being a science major, but the Global Education Office helped me arrange my class schedule. It was the best spontaneous decision I’ve ever made,” she said.

Arnold also served on the executive board for Habitat for Humanity her sophomore and junior years.

“Ever since freshman year, I’ve always had a little home there. My first spring break trip was a turning point, and I had the opportunity to meet some truly awesome people,” she said.

Arnold’s future plans are centered on pursuing her love for healthcare and helping others.

“The end goal is medical school or physician’s assistant school, but I want to get some experience in the workforce through working in a hospital as a medical scribe or medical technician first,” she said.

This summer she will be working as a health assistant at John Hopkins Center For Talented Youth Summer Camp.

“I know I love helping people, and I want to do something that makes a difference in people’s health,” she said.

Arnold expressed gratitude to WC for providing her with not only relevant science courses, but also necessary writing skills.

“Definitely in the sciences, that’s something I never thought was important, but every science class revolves around writing and effective communication,” she said.

Arnold believes the professor’s student-focused classes make WC a truly special place.

“The students want to be here,” she said.

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