Student Spotlight: Jake Slinkman

Jake Slinkman

Jake Slinkman
Major: Associate in Science

Jake Slinkman didn’t want to attend College of DuPage.

But a former coworker encouraged him to check out COD. Then he applied for and was named a Presidential Scholar, an impressive award that includes a full-tuition scholarship and enrollment in COD’s Honors program and the Phi Theta Kappa Honors Society.

Slinkman said it was an easy choice at that point. Then he discovered what a great school College of DuPage is.

“My professors have really impacted my life, and I know I am better because of the influence they have had on me,” he said. “They really care about their students and that is great to see.”

Assistant Professor John Paris nominated Slinkman for the 2013 Carter Carroll Excellence in History Award for outstanding work in the field of history writing. He received an honorable mention for his analysis of Tim O'Brien’s book “If I Die in a Combat Zone,” which talks about the author's experience during the Vietnam War.

“I was just trying to get an ‘A’ on the paper, and in doing that Mr. Paris ended up nominating my paper for the award,” he said. “Through writing my paper, I learned that war is not a glorious thing but involves tough moral decisions from the men and women who are fighting.”

Another professor helped Slinkman obtain an “amazing” paid internship.

“Professor Karen Persky let me know about an internship at Grace Analytical Lab, which specializes in the testing of soil and water for pollutants as well as testing cosmetic and pharmaceutical products for bacterial pathogens,” he said. “I learned a lot about lab work, which is something I want to go into.”

He has transferred to Cedarville University in Cedarville, Ohio, to earn a bachelor's degree in Molecular Biology, and he spent another summer working at Grace Lab. Ultimately Slinkman would like to go into either research or teaching college and attend graduate school, but he has made no plans yet.

“If I go into research, the job I want is in cancer research,” he said. “I love cellular biology, and cancer is a big part of that. I want to help cure diseases like cancer by helping researchers tailor medicines to people's genomes. They've already had some success in this area. A certain type of cancer has been eliminated in people who carry a certain gene. This affects a very small number of people and I want to study how this works and start curing cancer using genetics.”

He also wants to continue traveling around the world to help on a variety of projects. So far he’s built houses in Mexico, fed the homeless in New Orleans and worked at an orphanage in Honduras. In summer 2013, he helped to install a playground at an orphanage in Haiti that his church supports.

“I enjoy helping people in whatever way I can,” he said.

More about the Biology program