Jessica Koehler patrols left field for the Albion College softball team, but there have been days this season when she thinks she is juggling bowling pins instead of snaring line drives.
An all-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association second-team performer in 2011 and a two-time member of the league's academic honor roll, Koehler is taking a class to prepare for the Medical College Admissions Test in addition to her regular coursework in biology, chemistry, English, and physics, and completing a presentation on detecting e-coli bacteria in environmental samples for the college's April 19 Elkin R. Issac Student Research Symposium.
Koehler became interested in researching bacteria through a class in microbes in public health taught by biology professor Ola Olapade during the 2010 fall semester. She wound up joining Olapade, working in the 2011 spring semester as a teaching assistant preparing items in the lab. That developed into a six-week experience funded by Albion's Foundation for Undergraduate Research, Scholarship and Creative Activity (FURSCA) the results of which she will report during the student research symposium.