Kinzie Matz finds her passion in personal experience
When Kinzie Matz’s grandfather was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, she became passionate about developing an understanding of neurodegenerative diseases, which translated directly to her research topic for the Louise Rosenfeld Undergraduate Research Internship.
Last semester, Kinzie started research alongside Elizabeth McNeill, assistant professor in food science and human nutrition.
“My research topic is the long-term effects that a high-fat diet can have on neuronal health and neurodegeneration in Drosophila, or fruit flies,” said Kinzie. “In humans, neurodegeneration is responsible for diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.”
This semester, Kinzie gets to continue her research and strengthen her relationship with McNeill through the internship.
"My research professor is the best boss I have had,” Kinzie said. “Working with her has helped me to approach problems in different ways, pursue questions that I have, and relate experiences to my future, even if they aren’t directly related.”
Not only has the Rosenfeld internship helped Kinzie strengthen her relationships with faculty and graduate students, she has also found a place to apply the skills she has learned in class to real life situations – for instance, when she completed the initial research and necessary calculations to develop the high-fat diet needed for the project.
Through the Rosenfeld internship, Kinzie has met many graduate students and faculty members who share her passion for human health and understand the amount of work that goes into designing and executing a research project – an opportunity that is rather rare for undergraduates at other universities.
“[The Rosenfeld internship] will help me grow as I present my research, meet faculty and students, and develop connections and relationships that I can use as I continue into my professional career.”