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Anna Staskiewicz, MS/Biomed ‘22 
MS in Biomedical Sciences/Biomedical Research (Thesis) Concentration


July 19, 2022

Anna Staskiewicz (MS/Biomed ’22)Armed with a bachelor of science degree in biology and a certificate in disability studies from the University of Georgia, Anna Staskiewicz (MS/Biomed ’22) knew she wasn’t finished with school.

Her goal was to further her education at a school that aligned with her passion for holistic wellness. And, as a Peachtree Ridge High School graduate, being able to stay close to family and friends in Gwinnett County was an added bonus. She soon made the decision to pursue a master of science degree in biomedical sciences at PCOM Georgia.

The program seemed like a perfect fit for Staskiewicz. “I was looking for something where I could expand my scientific knowledge and specifically learn more about the human body as a whole,” she said.

“One aspect that stood out to me was the variety of second year concentrations, specifically the thesis concentration as research was something that I was eager to experience.”

Staskiewicz developed a passion for research due to a childhood experience. “I was very close to my grandmother when I was a little girl,” she said, “and when she passed away during her battle with cancer, I felt called to become someone that could help my loved ones.”

This desire translated into a desire for research — “to play a part in the progression of knowledge and possible treatments to better people’s health,” she said.

Staskiewicz completed her thesis research while gaining experience as a work-study student in the PCOM Georgia lab, where she has recently accepted a position as a research assistant. Her future plans include gaining more experience in the lab, while pursuing a PhD.

“I want to equip myself with as much information and as many skills as possible so there will be a greater chance to impact the world with meaningful projects,” she said.

She credits her mentor, Xinyu (Eric) Wang, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, for much of her success at PCOM Georgia.

“Although I was nervous at the beginning because of my limited experience, I gained so much from pursuing the research track with the help of my awesome mentor, Dr. Wang, and the amazing people who work in our research lab,” she said.

She also appreciates her parents who immigrated to the United States and built a life for themselves “with courage and determination,” Staskiewicz said.

“They both pursued higher education in their countries, and, as a result, emphasized the importance of education and the value of always learning throughout life. They did everything to raise my brother and me with immense love and support,” she said.

Staskiewicz’s family is health conscious, with her father’s beekeeping hobby supplying the family with natural honey.

“I’ve always been interested in the health benefits of natural compounds, so when I heard Dr. Wang speaking about his research on caffeic acid phenethyl ester, a compound found in propolis (a glue created by bees to build their hives), it felt like a sign.”

“I knew I needed to reach out to Dr. Wang about possibly becoming his thesis student. Our common interest in natural compounds led me to research resveratrol derivatives and their effects on multiple myeloma cells,” she said.

As a student at PCOM Georgia, Staskiewicz served as the marketing chair for the Wholistic Wellness Committee where she worked to support the wellness of students on campus. In addition, she presented her first poster at the Experimental Biology 2022 conference in Philadelphia, and subsequently at PCOM Georgia’s Research Day.

Staskiewicz has advice for students following behind her.

“As you grow and experience new things as a person, your dreams may naturally shift to reflect who you become over time,” she said. “Follow your heart and, when you commit to something, focus on one step at a time.”

“In whatever calls to you, believe in yourself and commit to learning as much as you can. The result will be worthwhile.”

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