Shanna Tury was a track and cross country star and class president at her Michigan high school. As a first-year student, Tury said she wanted to major in biology because "Something that's real and breathes life is incredibly interesting to me . . . how somehow God designed it so it would all work."

Tury left Reed after one year. "I loved Reed, but the money aspect was important. Reed was very expensive," she explained.

She transferred to the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, which is about 45 minutes away from her family home. She was happy to return to her family and old friends, but going from Reed to U.M. was difficult.

"The transition was kind of rocky," she said. "I went from a school where there were 1,200 students to one where there are 40,000. That was a big change. Also, it's sort of hard being at a large university and not being a football fan! But I've made a lot of close ties here.

"If I had stayed at Reed I would have been in smaller classes, but I'm at a point now where all my classes are smaller anyway."

Tury said it's hard to believe that four years have passed since she was an 18-year-old freshman at Reed. She will be graduating in August with a degree in plant biology. The University of Michigan, known as a large research institution, was a good choice for her: "I'm interested in research and I thought there would be more access to resources."

For the past year and a half she has been performing independent research on a project she developed, which will have practical and bene-ficial applications. For her senior thesis she's working to make the Catharanthus roseus (periwinkle) produce more medicinal alkaloids. These are extracted from the plants by pharmaceutical companies in order to make medicines and chemotherapy drugs.

After taking a year off, "to work, relax, and save money," Tury plans to attend graduate school, probably to pursue an interest in biotechnology, plant genetics, and sustainable agriculture.

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