Alaura Lemieux ’20 is research associate for COVID-19 testing for CDC studies

Alaura Lemieux of Luck, Wisconsin, is a research associate at the Marshfield Clinic Research Institute, the main lab contracted to do the bulk of testing for several studies for the CDC.

Lemieux conducts scientific research for a few classified projects. “I get to do the actual science for projects versus the more labor-intensive tasks, though I do both when necessary,” she says. Her other lab work includes testing samples for Influenza A, Influenza B and SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) and preparing the samples for testing.

To test for viruses, the lab uses PCR (polymerase chain reaction) testing on a sample, which detects genetic material representative of the viruses.

When she applied for the position, Lemieux says she did not know her research would be for the CDC, though when she found out, “it added a whole other level of excitement. I love being able to use my degree in a meaningful way,” she says.

At Ripon College, Lemieux double majored in biology and theatre, both of which she says helped her get and succeed in her position. “I think that my time and research with (Professor of Biology) Dr. Mark Kainz prepared me for the actual technical side of research and lab work,” she says, adding that her senior research with him and having been his lab assistant helped shape her path in the research field.

She says having the opportunity to major in theatre helped prepare her for interviews and presentations necessary for obtaining her current job.

In the future, Lemieux intends to pursue further education in research or optometry.

Amanda Barlow ’23
Appleton, Wisconsin

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