Trevor Soucy ’18

Biochemist investigated a sinister pathogen and ran his first Marathon.

September 1, 2018

Hometown: Springfield, Oregon

Thesis adviser: Prof. Jay Mellies [biology 1999–]

Thesis: PerC and RNA Polymerase: An Attempt to PerCeive an Interaction

What it’s about: I looked at a protein called PerC, a known regulator of virulence genes in pathogenic E. coli, in order to understand how it operates.

What it’s really about: I’m trying to get two proteins to stick together.

On the first day of class: I definitely had impostor syndrome—I felt like everyone was so much smarter than me. But after a while, I gained confidence and was thrilled to be in an environment filled with people who were so passionate about learning.

Cool stuff I did: I ran with the campus running club, participated in the Portland Marathon/Half Marathon, and qualified for the Boston Marathon. I led a freshman odyssey backpacking trip, worked as a Peer Health Advocate, helped start Reed’s first student health advisory council, volunteered at the OHSU intensive care unit, and played in a local marimba group.

Obstacles I have overcome: Continuing to live a balanced lifestyle was a big one. As a low-income student it was essential to find a way to manage my academic work with my activities.

Influential book: The Demon-Haunted World by Carl Sagan. Sagan is one of the big forces that drove me to Reed because of his belief that learning is a thrilling and worthwhile pursuit. I honestly don’t think I would be here pursuing science without it.

Concept that blew my mind: When I first encountered the concept of emptiness in Buddhism, I was vehemently opposed to it. But as I thought about it more, I began to see it everywhere. It’s a radically different way of looking at the world that I find so fascinating.

Favorite professors: Reed is filled with so many great professors that I could likely list each and every class I’ve taken. I’m grateful to Prof. Kelly Chacón [chemistry 2015–] for her never-ending enthusiasm, to Prof. Arthur Glasfeld [chemistry 1989–] for his humor and passionate lectures, to Prof. Ken Brashier [religion 1998–] for letting an unqualified science major in his 300-level Chinese Buddhism class, and to Prof. Jay Mellies for sparking my passion for the fascinating biology of microbes.

How Reed changed me: Reed has made me so much more aware: of the issues going on around me, of my ability to question parts of my thinking and identity, and most importantly of the type of person I want to be and the life I would like to lead.

What's next: I currently work for Providence Medical Group and plan to enroll in a nursing program next year to prepare for my eventual career as a psychiatric nurse practitioner.

Financial aid: In high school I honestly did not know I had any realistic option for college besides state university. Then I heard about Reed. I am so thankful that financial aid allowed me the opportunity to attend. I can’t imagine where I would be now without Reed!

Desired superpower: Flying.

Actual superpower: Unwavering optimism.

Pet peeve: Stress culture.