#PROFspective: Biochemistry and Biology Major Kelso Borrell

biochemistry major stands near chemistry equipment

Today we speak with Kelso Borrell, a senior biochemistry and biology double major from Old Bridge, Middlesex County, who rents a house off campus. Kelso will share her #PROFspective with us on what it’s like to be a Rowan University student and how she’s getting the most of her college experience as a Rowan Prof. 
student poses for portrait

Name: Kelso Borrell
Majors: Dual Major in Biochemistry and Biology within the College of Science & Mathematics
Minors or concentrations: Minor in Psychology with a concentration in Neuroscience
Year: Senior
Housing: Off Campus

Transfer Student: Yes, I transferred from another four-year institution halfway through my freshman year

Hometown and County: Old Bridge, NJ (Middlesex County)

Commuter: Yes, I commute from “home” which is now a rented house off campus

Off-Campus resident: Yes, I live in house with my three friends Dillion, Matty B. & Cameron

Academic clubs:
WINGS (Women Inspiring a New Generation of Scientists President and Founder).

Athletic clubs:
I am a vice president and community service chair at
Rowan University Club Field Hockey

Social clubs:
Rowan Improfs: Rowan’s Improv team – president. Founding sister of
Sigma Delta Tau sorority – Women’s Health Chair

Do you work on campus?

Yes, as a researcher under the phenomenal Dr. Timothy Vaden, investigating protein stability when exposed to ionic liquids.

Do you have an off-campus job?

As a Mad Scientist named Rainbow Kelso for Mad Science which has interactive science events and after-school programs geared toward kids grades K-5th grade. 

Why did you choose your major?

I was originally a biology major tortured by chemistry. I liked a challenge and wanted to put up a fight with chemistry. A brain fight. I found peace in the solution that was biochemistry, my favorite subject (but I am taking puppetry next semester so that may change.)

One reason why you chose Rowan?

I didn’t know where to go after I quit my first four-year institution, so I followed my high school boyfriend of 3 years to Rowan after feeling somewhat alone in a large Floridian school. We broke up after our freshman year. Incredible how everything fell into place for me at Rowan anyway, especially because I had never seen myself in a state school.

student studies outside in between classes

My Typical Day as a Rowan Student

“Mike, Mike, Mike, guess what day it is?” It’s 7:48 a.m. Wednesday. My name is not Mike. It’s Kelsey, but I go by Kelso (yes, from That 70s Show). “I believe the answer is Hump Day!” I have just emerged from the fuzzy blanket cocoon that I had (hopefully) spent over six hours slumbering in. I contemplate how the days are flying by and how it feels like last Wednesday. It is the morning of my 8 a.m. lab meeting with my PI (Primary Investigator) and his research team. I roll out of bed piecing together the details of my life. I stumble in the dark in hopes of coming across black leggings and a warm dress, so I can elude real pants once again. I continue rolling to the bathroom, brush my teeth, and sleepily joke with my chipper roommate who’s already awake, and making an omelet. I leave my house by 7:57 a.m. because I know I can get to the Science Building in 3 minutes if I bike my heart out (which is the only way I bike to responsibilities). I arrive, take the elevator, and contemplate sneaking downstairs to snag a coffee before the meeting. I do. The creamy sugary French Roast hugs my soul.

student in front of elementsThe meeting is over. I try to immediately begin my biochemical research, but instead get caught up sifting through emails and modifying my planner. I start doing research by 10 a.m. I began volunteer researching in the second semester of my sophomore year, after a 19 credit semester diminished my scientific confidenceand my GPA. But, research reinstilled my lost confidence. It helped me form personal relationships with faculty and do something a lot of science students dont (but should) do: research. I felt more confident in the lab, and the kinesthetic learner in me appreciated the hands-on work.

student outside science buildingThe biochemistry lab is a jungle of science equipment. Overwhelming at first, but I’ve grown used to it. If I ever need to find anything, the jungle’s mythical master navigator, Pat Jackson (part magical fairy, when it comes to the biochemistry lab), is at my disposal. If she is not around, I seek the guidance of my PI, who might be the smartest person I can call a friend. I wouldn’t know these supportive mentors, that help me accomplish my goals, if it were not for research. Doing research truly transformed the Science Hall from an anxiety-filled space to a home (with occasional anxiety because … science.) I have to clean up all my labware and save my data by 2 p.m. so I can bike my heart out home and scurry to work.

I work as a Mad Scientist after school teaching an interactive science class to kids (K-5th). I take great pride in my name, Rainbow Kelso. The youngins call me Miss Rainbow. At least theyre not tugging at my lab coat, so I let the name thing go. As I enter I introduce myself, ask my favors(rules) and ask them to greet me in a British accent (it just makes us smile). We experiment with dry ice while discussing states of matter. The class ends and I head towards my car. I hear a passing shrill voice in a doppler fashion exclaiming, Bye, Miss Rainbow!

I am back at school battling the continuous dilemma between homework, studying for the ever-ominous MCAT (Medical College Admission Test) or eating before my 3 hour night class. I am indecisive, but thankfully also a multitasker which is key to the pre-medical lifestyle I hope to live one day. I end up eating whatever garbage food I’ve acquired because I haven’t had time to food shop in a while (praying it’s pizza Lunchables.) I go to my 6:30-9:00 p.m. Microbiology class. After, I head towards Bunce to lead “The Improfs,” my Improv team is in the process of becoming an SGA official organization. We start improvising and something like, “I prefer to live in my pants because it’s cheaper,” makes me laugh. It ends at 11 p.m., where I bike home and attempt homework, but probably end up eating a nightly salad and watching entertainment like The Sarah Silverman Program, The Review and Louie, unless I hang with my sorority friends or roommates. I end up falling asleep on my living room couch while watching the projector and wake up in a zombie-esque fog. I find my way back to my room and begin the nesting process to create the fuzzy blanket cocoon I’ll have to leave too early from the next day.

We are #RowanPROUD and we are Rowan Profs! Not exactly sure what a Prof is? It’s our owl mascot, Whoo RU. Read about him here

Story organized by: Jen Green and Natalia Panfilova