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Student Spotlight: Claire Poling

By NKU Magazine Staff | Photography by Scott Beseler | Published Aug. 8, 2019
Trey Burns

NAME: Claire Poling

HOMETOWN: Rising Sun, Indiana

MAJOR: Biochemistry

MINOR: Biology


Tell me about life pre-NKU. Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Rising Sun, Indiana. Rising Sun is a very small town where everybody knows everybody. In 2017, I graduated from Rising Sun High School in a class of 47 students.

Why did you choose NKU? What kept you here?

I chose NKU for the class sizes and the wide variety of majors to choose from. Many of my classes are large enough to have a true college feel but small enough that my professors know my name. NKU is also big enough to have many different majors, so I knew I’d be able to find the right one for me. I have stayed at NKU because it is a perfect medium size, so it has the advantages of big schools as well as small schools.

Can you tell me a little about what you’re studying?

I am a chemistry major on the biochemistry pre-pharmacy track. Biochemistry is what it sounds like: a combination of biology and chemistry. I am learning about concepts of biology and chemistry to better understand the way life is sustained from the macro and micro levels. Then, I will use what I have learned at NKU to further my education in pharmacy school.

What’s the first word that comes to mind when you think about NKU?

The first word that comes to mind when I think about NKU is opportunity. Graduating from NKU gives you boundless opportunities in any field you choose. NKU students have the opportunity to experience so many new and exciting things, whether it be undergraduate research, studying abroad or finding a passion that you will pursue for the rest of your life. After graduation, NKU students go on to make a meaningful difference in the world because of the skills and knowledge they gained as a Norse.

What is the best thing about NKU?

The best thing about NKU is the size. NKU has many advantages that big schools have, such as the large selection of majors and minors, the resources available to students, and the fun things to do on campus. NKU also has advantages that small schools have. I can go almost anywhere on campus and find a familiar face. NKU is a happy medium between a big school and a small school.

What advice would you give a first-year student?

I would tell a first-year student not to sweat the small stuff. Starting college can feel very overwhelming, and it is easy to get caught up in the stress from so many changes in your life. Try not to be too hard on yourself, because the transition from high school to college is challenging sometimes. If you work hard and take it one day at a time, you’ll be successful at NKU.

What’s your favorite class? Why?

Believe it or not, my favorite class is organic chemistry. Organic has a bad reputation of being students’ worst nightmare. While it is a challenging class, it is definitely possible to succeed in organic chemistry. All the hard work it takes to learn organic chemistry makes it so rewarding when you do well on the exams.

What has been your most challenging academic experience so far? Why?

The most challenging academic experience I have faced so far was my first finals week. I remember feeling very overwhelmed and unsure of what to expect. The more I studied, the more calm and prepared I felt. Each time finals week rolls around, I get better at managing the stress and knowing what I have to do to be prepared.

What’s a favorite NKU memory you’ll never forget?

I will never forget the wonderful friends I have made at NKU. Coming to NKU gave me the opportunity to become friends with all different kinds of people, and I have learned so much from them. I will remember my friends and all of the fun we have had at NKU for the rest of my life.

What is your favorite way to decompress?

My favorite way to decompress is to do something fun with my friends. After a long week of studying, it is fun to get away from campus and take a break. Whether it be going to a restaurant, bowling or to the movies, it is important to get your mind off school for a while. I love to go get Mexican food or ice cream with my friends.

Where’s your favorite spot on campus? What makes that spot so special?

My favorite spot on campus is Einstein Bros. Bagels in Steely Library. It is a great place to grab a snack or a smoothie and work on homework. They have so many options that you can always try something new. It is a great place to hang out with friends and take a quick study break when you need one.

Who’s your favorite professor (or staff member)? Why?

My favorite professor is Dr. Amber Onorato. Dr. O is an organic chemistry professor. She spends so much time helping her students succeed in her classes and at NKU in general. Whether it is in her office, over email or at Starbucks, she always makes time to talk to students. Without a professor like Dr. O, it would be hard to enjoy a class likeorganic chemistry. She pushes her students to get the most out of them, but it is clear she wants them to succeed in her class and in the future.

Where’s the best place to study?

The best place to study is the study rooms in the Health Innovation Center/Founders Hall. You can walk into a study room there without having to book a time and stay as long as you want. There is a whiteboard and computer in each room, which can really be useful when preparing for an exam. The study rooms are a great place to focus on your work without any distractions.What is your favorite way to spend your free time?In my free time, I like to hang out with my friends and family and just decompress. No matter what we are doing, I just enjoy taking a break to get my mind off of school for a while. I like to go shopping, to the movies and lots of other things.

How do you stay focused?

I stay focused on studying by taking breaks throughout the day and having fun plans to look forward to. Usually, it feels like all of my classes have exams during the same week. When I’m studying a lot before one of those weeks, I might try to work hard for a few hours and then take a break to watch an episode of something on Netflix. Sometimes it can be hard to come back to studying after a break, but it helps to make plans in advance for after your exams are over that you can look forward to. Then, it feels like the end of your studying is in sight, and you are more motivated to stay focused.

What are you most looking forward to after graduation?

After graduation, I am looking forward to attending pharmacy school. What I’m learning now at NKU is preparing me for a successful future in pharmacy school. I am excited to learn about health care and medications so I can have a rewarding career that allows me to help those in need.

What kind of job would you like to have after you graduate?

After college, I want to be a pharmacist. I want to help provide the best possible healthcare to people in need. I will get to provide people with medications and advice on how to live healthy lives. Being a pharmacist will be a truly meaningful and rewarding career.

What does getting your degree mean to you?

Getting a degree means that you have proven to yourself and your professors that you have what it takes to work hard to accomplish your goals. Getting a degree isn’t easy for anyone, so graduating proves that you have determination and a strong work ethic. Italso proves that you are highly knowledgeable in your field and ready to take on graduate school or your career.