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Exercise Science Spotlight

The Missing Pieces: Pickard’s Passion for Finding Solutions

“This challenging program has further increased my appreciation for my time in Transylvania’s exercise science program. So many of my Johns Hopkins peers spent their undergraduate years at the most prestigious universities in the country. I was amazed to find that I have done just as well or better in all of our courses.”

Amber Pickard '10, from day one, wanted to make a difference. Before she enrolled at Johns Hopkins University, Pickard worked as a lab manager at the University of Kentucky, contributing to a biomedical research project. From that moment, she was hooked.

"I became fascinated with research," she says. "I felt that I was making a contribution to the field in which I plan to work for the rest of my life."

Pickard's passion spilled over to her experience at Johns Hopkins. Now enrolled in the honors research program of the number one nursing program in the nation, Pickard has taken every opportunity to leave her mark. "I had full responsibility for developing my own research project," she explains. Her project, which investigated salivary enzymes and stress hormone levels in study groups, will soon be published.

When Pickard isn't making medical discoveries, she goes beyond the expectations of a full-time student. A participant in Johns Hopkins' accelerated nursing program, she splits her time between clinicals and classroom learning, and will finish her degree in one year rather than two. In the face of this rigorous academic schedule, Pickard continues to represent Transylvania proudly, standing side-by-side her Ivy League counterparts. Her acceptance into Sigma Theta Tau, a competitive nursing honorary, is proof of her pedigree.

Pickard credits Transylvania's exercise science program for preparing her to face this rigorous schedule and succeed. "The exercise science program's incorporation of internships into the curriculum taught me to balance the responsibilities of a working experience with the work involved in traditional classroom learning," she says. "It prepares you for what you face once you enter your post bachelor degree training."

Beyond the rigor, however, Pickard values Transylvania for developing her ability to discover solutions. "Caring for patients via the nursing career is kind of like a puzzle," Pickard says. "You are very independent. You have to know why you are doing what you are doing. That takes critical thinking skills, which I cultivated throughout my Transylvania career."

While Pickard occasionally finds time to enjoy the diverse culture and food of Baltimore, or see an Orioles or Ravens game, most of her time is spent in the classroom or the hospital room. There, she continues to discover aspects of the medical world, her patients, and her own limitless capabilities—one piece of the puzzle at a time.


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