Anna Davis


Greensboro, NC

Academic Interests

Chemistry, Economics, and Spanish

Fun Fact

I don’t like french fries or whipped cream!

There is something captivating about the idea that much of our lives is dictated by things much too small to see. The interaction of molecules dictate our personhood -- our lives, and our deaths. I am passionate about medicine and taking care of the people of this world, but have known for much of my life that a hospital setting is not the place for me. Discovering chemistry and the great lengths with which I can enact change in people’s lives through these microscopic discoveries has me hooked. I intend to major in chemistry and PhD in chemistry before pursuing a career in the medical industry. I am focused specifically on industry due to my interests in economics, which I am pursuing through a minor.

I also am pursuing a minor in Spanish. Before I arrived at Duke, I was heavily focused on Spanish as a member of a Spanish Immersion program spanning from kindergarten to my high school graduation. Through this program I was considered fluent by second grade and had the opportunity to have teachers from all over South America. In high school I served as a translator on various levels. I first translated for guest ballerinas from the Dominican Republic, then for coworkers and campers at Camp Seafarer. I also worked as a translator for the attorney Eric Richardson at ER Law NC through the first semester of freshman year, and have taken on smaller, contract translations since. I hope this experience will serve me well in future careers as I continue to practice and refine my language skills..

At Duke, I have had the opportunity of researching with Dr. Marc Ryser and currently in the Becker Lab for Functional Biomaterials. With the Ryser group I studied the relationship between Ductal Carcinoma In Situ (DCIS) and Invasive Ductal Carcinoma (IDC). In Dr. Matthew Becker’s lab I am approaching breast cancer once again, but through a different lens. Through the Chemistry Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship and an honorary Dean Summer Research Fellowship I was able to begin a project on resorbable, 3D-printable, triblock hydrogels. The purpose of these new materials are to provide antibacterial, oxygen promoting environments that promote tissue regeneration in the cavities left by lumpectomies. I am continuing this research through independent study during the 2021-2022 academic school year.

Outside of class, I am Co-Vice President of Foundation for Delta Gamma’s Beta Theta chapter, a member of the Episcopal Center vestry, and a member of DUU Speaker’s and Stage. In the past I have also held positions as a board member and later director of the diversity, equity, and inclusion board for Delta Gamma, as well as vice president of DUU Speaker’s and Stage. I also was the captain and coach of the only all girl flag football team at Duke! In high school I started Powderpuff as a fundraiser for the ABCF at my school, so I was excited to bring the tradition with me to college. I am sad we could not participate last year because it was a blast!

What do you like about being a SPIRE Fellow?

My favorite part about being a SPIRE Fellow is the friendship with the other fellows. Last year I had the opportunity of living in the Living Learning Community on campus and am back again for this school year! It is very helpful to have people walking down similar paths as you who can support you on long homework days, study struggles, and feeling different from the dominant pre-med and pre-finance tracks.

Anna Davis