Albuquerque, New Mexico
Double Major in Biology and Integrated International Studies
Story by Ashlee Pitts '15
Photo by Michelle Orr '13
Originally appeared in The Knox Student in April 2012
What is your major?
I'm a Biology and Integrated International Studies major.
When did you choose your major?
I knew when I started college I either wanted to study biology or international studies. It was my sophomore year when I just threw my hands in the air and decided to declare both.
What are you researching for your Honors project?
I am researching antibiotic resistance as a global public health problem. What I've done is a review of literature and the problem. What I've found is the incorrect use of antibiotics that makes bacteria resistant making infections a big issue. One of my big issues is the multiplying resistance in tuberculosis and comparing the rate of TB infections of different countries with their GDP, GDP per capita, percent of GDP on health [and] education expenditure, physician density, and hospital bed density. This, I believe, could have some impact on the ... rate [of] drug resistant tuberculosis.
What inspired your interest?
After my double major decision I thought about how I could combine my majors over the past summer, having thoughts on grad school programs and interest in public health. Talking with my advisor [about] an original project ... in public health I found my topic.
Could you describe to me what the process of research has been like?
My project is pretty much library-based research. I read a lot of articles [and] used data and publically available research such as the CIA World Factbook. I used this data to run statistically available connections. Earlier on I ran into a problem with MRSA [Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus], a disease not reported. Since it is a widespread disease, it was not well reported, ... which led me to just sticking to tuberculosis.
Honors projects require you to defend your case. Are you at all nervous about that?
Yes I suppose at this point I am still working on my paper; [I'm] more nervous about the paper rather than [the] defense. At the end of May is when I give my defense, and at this point I want to focus on the finishing of the paper and project.
What do you hope people take away from your project?
I suppose I want different audiences to take away different things. The general audience I want to be able to know how to use antibiotics properly. I want them to not pressure [their] doctors for more antibiotics, which are increasing resistance. Within biology and international studies I want them to see how interrelated [the] topics are.