COVID-19 has caused unprecedented changes globally, especially for commencement celebrations. Food science and human nutrition (FSHN) nutritional sciences doctoral student, Rebecca Solch, celebrated a time-honored tradition uniquely in unconventional times. A special moment for graduating doctoral students is receiving their academic hood from their advisor.
On August 10, Solch was hooded by her professor and longtime mentor, Dr. Bobbi Langkamp-Henken, to celebrate her incredible accomplishment.
“I hate to see her graduate, but as her advisor, mentor, and friend it is with the utmost pride that I see her off to start a new research experience,” said Henken.
Solch first met Henken as a pre-med focused food science and human nutrition undergraduate student in 2014. During the summer of 2014, Solch interned in Henken’s lab, quickly gaining a passion for nutrition and health research.
Solch continued to work in Henken’s lab as an undergraduate research coordinator following her internship. Here, she collected and entered data, interacted with participants and processed samples. It was during this time that Solch realized she wanted to focus on the research aspect of nutrition and health, rather than her original plan of medical school.
After graduating in 2016 with her undergraduate degree, Solch increased the responsibilities she had as an undergraduate student, accepting a position as a full-time study coordinator continuing to work on studies in Henken’s lab.
“When Becca joined my lab six years ago as an IFAS intern, she was new to research but eager to learn and very observant. Soon Becca could confidently take on any job in the lab, including mine,” said Henken.
In 2017, Solch began her doctoral program while maintaining her responsibilities as a clinical research coordinator. Solch leaned on her FSHN family for support while completing her complex, quantitative study.
“The Food Science and Human Nutrition department and my lab are like a second home and family,” said Solch. “Running and analyzing a study with 500+ subjects took the help of my lab members, advisors, numerous undergraduate students and jelly donuts.”
Solch attributes her success to her “lab” family and biological family, both of whom she says she could not have succeeded in graduate school without, especially her dog, Riley.
Solch has accepted a post-doctoral position at Tulane University in the Department of Neurology studying diet and cognitive health following graduation.
Summer 2020 Doctoral Degree Graduate