War Eagle Words Student News


November 2014

STUDENT SPOTLIGHT: Stephanie Campbell


Stephanie Campbell posing for a picture next to a pigOn any given day, Stephanie Campbell can be found playing middle blocker for the Auburn University volleyball team, researching clock genes for wooly pigs or studying for one of her dual majors – animal sciences/pre-vet and microbial, molecular and cellular biology.

Steph is from a suburban background. She never considered joining the College of Agriculture until her volleyball academic advisor suggested she add a major to her College of Science and Mathematics course of study. If Steph had not added her animal sciences degree, she would have graduated in two and a half years, wasting over a year of volleyball eligibility.

The St. Louis native never knew Auburn existed until she was recruited to the university’s volleyball team her sophomore year of high school.

Four years later, the college sophomore is a time-management professional.

“Volleyball takes up a lot of my time, along with all my science class load and research. I just have to make time for the things that make me happy,” she says.

Through her animal sciences classes and the help of assistant professor Terry Brandebourg, Steph learned of, was encouraged to apply for and was awarded the AU Cellular and Molecular Biosciences Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship. Brandebourg was her faculty mentor for the 10-week program this past summer.

Her research focused on the so-called wooly pig, the colloquial name for the Hungarian breed Mangalitsa. The Mangalitsa is a high-fat pig, which makes a good model for studying obesity. Specifically, she studied the clock gene, a regulatory gene for circadian rhythms, in lean and obese Mangalitsa fat tissue. Clock genes influence the regulation of metabolism and obesity, and researchers hope continued studies of wooly pigs will lend clues on preventing obesity in humans.

The fellowship experience has Steph leaning toward a career in research focused on helping animals, but she hasn’t decided whether she wants to attend veterinary medicine school or graduate school with a specialization in research.

The volleyball team member loves the exciting and energetic sport because she constantly encounters new situations and challenges on the court.

Even with her tough school and game schedule, Steph makes time to go to other sporting events, cheer on her friends and make trips to Toomer’s Drugs for ice cream and fresh-squeezed lemonade.

“My advice to students looking at Auburn or the College of Agriculture is to join the family. The advisors and professors really care about you as an individual,” she says.

She also suggests students get involved early in their college career and find their niche.

“And, most important, whatever you choose, go and have fun with it,” she says.