Samantha Dale Strasser

Hometown: Wausau, Wis.
Major: Double major in biomedical engineering and applied mathematics

Defining anecdote: I took piano lessons as a child. My piano teacher told me that life is made up of a lot of normal, everyday occurrences that can culminate in having an honor bestowed upon you. Everyday actions can build up to something significant.

Decisive moment at Northwestern: The research experience I’ve had solidified the fact that research is what I want to do with my career. I’ve been working in a biophotonics lab, studying an optical technique aimed at quantifying nanoscale properties of biological cells, which in the future can be applied to studying different cancers.

Favorite Northwestern hangout: If I’m contemplating, I love the lakeshore and the Shakespeare Garden. And many of my friends are engineers too, so we spend a lot of time in Tech.

Favorite Northwestern tradition? Painting the rocks down by the lake. I haven’t done it yet, but that’s a must-do before I graduate.

Your biggest vice? Eating an entire pint-sized carton of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia in one sitting.

Favorite form of social media? I don’t have a Facebook and I’ve never “twittered.” I usually email people. And I like Google Chat. Also, talking on the phone, but in person is best. 

Favorite Northwestern class? Why? I have three answers: on the engineering side, I love math classes in general; painting — I love working that side of my brain; and Russian literature — the concept I remember most from that course is the importance of remembering the small things.

Your greatest adventure? Coming to Chicago, leaving my hometown and being on my own here has definitely been an adventure, and it’s been a great ride. I’ve loved it.

What’s next? I’ll be researching organic solar cells, studying toward an MPhil in physics at the University of Cambridge on a Churchill Scholarship. I’m excited both for the research in a world class university as well as the ability to travel. Never having been to England, or Europe more generally, there are so many places I want to see! Specifically, in England, two items on my list are to go to Portobello Market in London as well as to see the 2012 Olympics. 

Your dream job? I’d like to be a research professor at a major research university — someplace like Northwestern — with the caliber of Northwestern’s interdisciplinary research environment.