Between a double major in Biology and Spanish, an individualized minor in science writing, and freelancing as a science reporter, Rose Schnabel (B.S./B.A. ’24), a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences, is as active and engaged as any undergraduate. She is also a Wells Scholar, which ranks among the most competitive and prestigious awards offered by an American university. But when several of her friends recruited her to join them as Ambassadors for the College of Arts and Sciences she jumped right in.
Rose Schnabel student spotlight
As an Ambassador, Rose meets prospective students and their families to talk to them about why she chose to study in the College at IU. “I was really impressed to be at a Research I (R1) institution and do groundbreaking scientific research, while also being at one of the best schools for languages and continue my Spanish,” said Rose. Beginning her College career with dreams of working in research, she has embraced her passion for science communication and making research available in English and Spanish.
For the prospective students Rose meets who may not know exactly what they want to pursue, the College is perhaps ideally suited to help these students most. “What I think of the College and what it will offer me, since it is so broad you get to try a million different things,” she said. “So that’s what I’ve been doing.”
Rose has been taking science writing and biology courses, as well as classes on music, history, and law, and studying what she is most passionate about as she moves steadily toward finishing her degrees. “I like how the College gives you all those options,” she said.
“I think I’d be lying if I say that I never felt overwhelmed,” Rose said of the choices that are available to her in the College. “But it’s something that you’re able to chip away at.”
Starting her freshman year, the number of classes, labs, and subject areas she could pursue were somewhat intimidating to Rose, but as she developed her interests she figured out where she would direct her energy. “Now that I’ve found a few different areas I know I like, I can explore within those and it’s much more manageable,” she said.
As she progressed in her studies, Rose was able to navigate towards her intellectual and career interests with the help of the Walter Center for Career Achievement, a supportive advisor, and dedicated faculty and staff.
Rose began as a pre-med student, but quickly realized that she didn’t want to work with patients in a clinical setting. Libby Tilghman, College advisor for Biology, helped her see that a clinical setting wasn’t the only place where her interests and talents could shine.
As Rose worked with the Walter Center to find research opportunities on campus, she was taking a course that introduced her to science writing and immediately fell in love – would she switch lanes again and focus on science writing?
But Wells Scholars Program Director Christoph Irmscher assisted Rose in discerning her new direction. “He was very helpful, supporting me and getting me in touch with preeminent science writers and figuring out if that’s really what I wanted to do,” she said.
“I think [science writing] is a wonderful focus for Rose, who is gifted in the use of language,” said Libby. “So many of us lack the scientific foundation that Rose has built through her studies, yet we have a genuine interest in science topics that touch our lives and affect the life of our planet. Rose will be well equipped to explain complex scientific systems in a way that non-scientists can understand and appreciate.”
With the help of engaged faculty and staff, Rose has been able to pursue her research interests in the lab of Nicola Pohl, professor and Joan & Marvin Carmack Chair in Chemistry and associate dean of Natural and Mathematical Sciences, while also freelancing and expanding her expertise in science writing. Rose has been published in the ScIU blog, the IU Journal of Undergraduate Research website, and the Xylom, a student-run nonprofit online science publication. A chemist and biologist by training, Rose approaches her writing on infectious disease, organic chemistry, and biochemistry through their social and community impact.
The College enables students to find meaningful academic and career paths as they discover their passions and explore what their futures could look like. Rose’s path has led her to exciting research opportunities and exploration, and to discovering a life-long passion for science writing.