The road to research

The road to research
How Melanie Nicol got her start in 4-H

Melanie Nicol knew she liked science from a young age. “It felt like a puzzle, and I enjoyed the mystery of discovery that science inspired,” she said. Now, she works as a tenured associate professor in the Department of Experimental and Clinical Pharmacology at the University of Minnesota.

While obtaining her doctorate in pharmacy at Ohio Northern University, Nicol worked in a research lab and learned that she loved lab work: “I fell in love with research and was interested in the possibility that I could be the first person to discover something.”

Her passion for research prompted her to pursue a PhD. After graduation, she was accepted at the University of North Carolina to study pharmaceutical sciences: “I wanted to work in translational research, an area of research that seeks to bridge the gap between lab work and clinical work. One of the labs at UNC was doing that through their work in HIV research.” Through this lab, Nicol went into clinics and took HIV samples that were brought back to the lab for testing.

Today, Nicol continues her work in HIV and translational research and says the skills she learned during her time in the Union County Ohio 4-H program are still beneficial all these years later.

“Completing 4-H projects was my first experience with project management, albeit on a much smaller scale,” she said.