Annabel Large has a trip to Sweden planned for September as a 2019-2020 Fulbright Scholar. The chemical engineering major will work on a 10-month collaboration between ORNL and the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) in Alnarp.
Large will return stateside afterward to tackle the joint bioengineering PhD program at the University of California at Berkeley and UC San Francisco, and eventually work in research.
“My career goal would be to become a staff scientist at a Department of Energy national laboratory,” she said.
The Jonesborough, Tennessee, native built a firm foundation for Fulbright and beyond during her time as an Engineering Vol. She worked with CBE Assistant Professor Steve Abel on computational modeling and simulations of the cell membrane 2015–2017, and took the summer of 2016 to enjoy a summer research experience looking at protein engineering and structural investigations of caffeine enzymes at the University of Alabama.
“I’ve generally been working in the space of bioengineering, with both wet-lab and computational experience. Perhaps unusual about my research experience is that I took a co-op year after my junior to pursue two full-time research appointments,” she said.
Her co-op rotations included time at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory working with automation and scale-up of synthetic biology experiments and, closer to home, handling bioinformatics and large-scale data analytics at ORNL. She settled back into the UT Knoxville campus for the spring 2019 semester, and maintained a part-time position at ORNL while capping off her senior year.
Large already has experience with her upcoming Sweden colleagues via a collaboration through her group at ORNL.
I’m going to apply the techniques and knowledge I’ve gained while at ORNL to a different project under the guidance of Erik Alexandersson, a professor at SLU. So, some of the same skills from ORNL, but different research focus and high potential to learn new skills.”
The Fulbright will also allow her to pursue at least one of her favorite pastimes.
“I enjoy traveling (clearly—ha, ha), coffee, and caring for my two hamsters,” said Large. Her hamsters—with the coffee-friendly names of Arabica and Robusta—will have to stay home in Tennessee while she is in Sweden. “Hopefully, I’ll get to bring them with me to California. That’s for a later life-planning session, though.”
The Fulbright Program is the flagship international educational exchange program sponsored by the US government and is designed to increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries. The program was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by late Senator J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. It is sponsored by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs.