Buerkle awarded graduate fellowship

Lauren Buerkle

Lauren Buerkle

Lauren Buerkle has been awarded a Graduate Fellowship from the National Science Foundation for her research in polymer hydrogels and tissue engineering at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio.

The grant covers tuition and living expenses for her MS and PhD in Macromolecular Science and Engineering.

She graduated from Case Western Reserve University on May 21 with a BSE in Biomedical Engineering, cum laude. In the course of her undergraduate years, she participated extensively in basic research in Macromolecular Science and Engineering and was selected for the 2005 Summer Research Experience at Case. At that time, she initiated a project which dealt with self-assembly and cell membrane adhesion of peptideamphiphile molecules to form tissue engineering matrices and promote intercellular interactions for bone and cartilage regeneration. She will be exploring further applications during her doctorate studies, and plans a career in medicinal chemistry research.

As an undergraduate, Buerkle was actively involved in multiple organizations. She was instrumental in formation of the Omicron chapter of Phi Sigma Rho, a women’s engineering sorority. She also volunteered as a pianist and vocalist for the campus Newman Center.

Buerkle was elected to three honor societies based on leadership, scholarship, and service. She served as the director of technology and on the membership committee for the Case Mortar Board Chapter. This honorary organization sponsors multiple fundraising benefits for promotion of scholarship in the Cleveland Community. She was the secretary and a founder of the Case chapter of Alpha Eta Mu Beta National Biomedical Engineering Honor Society, the objective of which is to educate the community about the profession of Biomedical Engineering and science in general. She was also elected to Gamma Sigma Alpha National Greek Honor Society.

She was employed as a teaching assistant during her Junior and Senior years, and was an undergraduate teaching assistant trainer for Educational Services for Students. In this role, she also led the Academic Happy Hour, which facilitated dialog between students, staff, and administration to discuss issues currently relevant to the campus community.

She also was the director of the Journal Distribution Project of Case Western Reserve University. In this project, more than 400 pounds of used medical journals were collected from the Case Medical School and affiliated hospitals and were shipped to medically underserved countries around the world.

She attributes her commitment to academics and service to her strong foundation at Nerinx Hall High School, from which she graduated in 2002. She notes her intrigue with science and the investigative methodology took its roots in early elementary school at Queen of All Saints, where she participated in several St. Louis Post Dispatch Science Fairs. She is grateful to those teachers who went the extra mile to challenge students, and she encourages early, strong, and active science education in today’s elementary classrooms.

She is the daughter of Susan and Bruce Buerkle of Sappington, the sister of Greg Buerkle, a senior at Christian Brothers College High School, and the granddaughter of Jeanne Messina of Affton.

Her family is very proud.