Loyola University Chicago

College of Arts & Sciences

From motherhood to scholar

From motherhood to scholar

"I would encourage every student to step out of their comfort zone and work towards achieving their goal, no matter how hard or impossible it might appear to be." - Sara Khan, Biology major and Psychology of Crime and Justice Minor who plans to apply to medical school.

What are your post-graduation plans?

I will be spending quality time with my daughter while applying to medical school. This summer, I will continue working on my research project and hopefully solve the three-dimensional structure of Plasmodium PhLP-3. I will also be applying for a job as an EMT during my free time. Furthermore, I am looking forward to volunteering with the Chicago Park District program for elementary schools. This will allow me to spend time with my daughter who is enrolled in one of the Park District summer programs.

You’ve been very involved with research and various organizations during your time at Loyola. Can you talk about your research and your accomplishments on and off campus?

For the past two years I have been an undergraduate research student in Dr. Kanzok’s malaria lab. My research project seeks to understand the role of phosducin-like protein-3 (PhLP-3) for the malaria parasite Plasmodium. It is my goal to resolve the structure of the PhLP-3 protein. Being a member of Dr. Kanzok’s research team has been a life changing experience. I became fascinated with the molecular mechanisms in living cells and the intricate structure and function of proteins. I also act as co-fundraising chair of the on-campus student-run organization “Homeless not Hopeless.” We aim to raise funds for the underserved community and provide necessities such as food, sanitizers, and hygiene materials. We hope that our work inspires others to join us. I also volunteer as an EMT for Loyola University Chicago Emergency Services (LUCEMS).

How has being a student at Loyola helped you get where you are today?

As a freshman, I never believed I would be able to reach my goal of graduating with high honors and be in a good position to apply for medical school, but deep down I was determined to achieve it. I am grateful to Loyola for giving me so many opportunities to get involved. Without the amazing support from my friends, family and professors, I wouldn’t be where I am today.

What is your advice for students graduating next year?
“A comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing ever grows there.” I was deeply motivated by this thought and would encourage every student to step out of their comfort zone and work towards achieving their goal, no matter how hard or impossible it might appear to be. I believe that no dream is too big as long as you are determined to achieve it.