Laura Wemple came to Florida Polytechnic University as a non-traditional student. She already had two associate degrees – one in business and the other in chemical engineering and biology.
After working for a few years, Wemple, 35, says she realized that a STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) degree would go a long way. Once she knew about the STEM-focused curriculum and the intimate learning atmosphere at Florida Poly, she was certain it was the right place for her.
On May 4, Wemple is graduating from Florida Poly magna cum laude with a degree in mechanical engineering, as part of the university’s first four-year class. After graduation, she’ll begin studying for her fourth college degree – a master’s degree in biomedical engineering – at the University of Florida.
Her career goal is to work in neurological research and help repair damaged and degrading neurons. Wemple believes science should be used to help keep the human brain just as alive and well as the body, and she is determined to excel in this area.
“Can you imagine the impact on the world if brilliant scientists, artists, doctors or inventors had a few more decades with their brains in their prime,” asks Wemple, who resides in Lakeland, Florida. “This kind of research could be a total game-changer.”
During her time at Florida Poly, Wemple had a number of hands-on experiences that she says helped prepare her for graduate school. She worked as a lab technician for the chemistry department, tutored fellow students and earned a position as a teacher’s assistant in one of her courses. She even received global experience working on a water purification project in conjunction with Punjab University in India.
As Wemple looks forward to her future, she reflects fondly of her time at Florida Poly.
“I always felt at home here. We might be a petri dish of nerds,” she laughs, “but that’s what makes this place so amazing. We can totally be ourselves.”
Editor’s Note: This story is one of a series of stories featuring several of Florida Poly’s Class of 2018 graduates.