Kaitlyn Lewars

2024

Rockaway, NJ

Academic Interests

Major: Global Health and Biology

Fun Fact

I finished first in my district for foil fencing in my senior year of high school. I also watch all 3 High School Musical movies every year religiously.

My grandmother died in Jamaica mainly due to medical carelessness. She was misdiagnosed and neglected by the hospital healthcare professionals because she was poor. This is a reality in many poor underrepresented societies. My grandmother’s death set in motion my desire to find solutions for age-related illnesses and other urgent health issues. This part of my background has motivated me to pursue a double major in Global Health and Biology. Through science I hope to identify and find solutions for healthcare challenges in under-represented communities. 

Before coming to Duke I spent the summer before senior year in Dr. Suzie Chen’s lab at Rutgers University. Their lab was focused on two things looking at a transgenic mouse model system for melanoma development. and the regulation of cell signaling by G-protein-coupled-receptor. I hope to continue doing research here during my time at Duke. My short term goals include obtaining research opportunities to gain valuable real world experience. At Duke, there are numerous opportunities to conduct research individually and with professors through research programs like B-SURF, Huang Fellows, Data+, etc. I also wish to participate in the Student Research Training Program, a part of the Global Health Department, where students are trained in field research and then spend a summer applying that training to a project.

My long-term goal is to first obtain a masters in Global Health through the Duke 4+1 program. Followed by a PhD in the biomedical field specializing in microbiology, pharmacology, etc. After my college years, my goal is a career with institutions such as the WHO, CDC, NIH, anywhere I can pursue my passion to support better healthcare in underserved communities. I hope to work with other experts to study age-related and other diseases, finding cheaper solutions, and enabling access to medications for all communities in need.

Outside of the sciences, I have an interest in US politics and history. In high school, I completed an internship for the Morris County Democratic Committee, mainly working on Representative Mike Sherrill campaign. I am also part of the Duke Taekwondo club team.

What do you like about being a SPIRE Fellow?

I love that SPIRE provides mentorship and a multitude of beneficial resources for people in STEM. I came into Duke ready to form a close friend group to have fun with, to study with, and support each other when things get difficult. SPIRE provides that as we are with nineteen other first year students with similar goals, aspirations, and classes.

Kaitlyn Lewars
Kaitlyn Lewars