Benjamin Dralle

Benjamin discovers passion for research at Iowa State

Benjamin originally came to Iowa State to study nutrition as a stepping stone to medical school. Although his major never changed, after a few opportunities, his career goal did.

“I came to Iowa State with the intention of becoming only a medical doctor, but a research project that I worked on last spring sparked my interest in research as a career component,” he said.

Ben worked with a small team testing the accuracy of activity monitors for children. He got to work in a variety of aspects of the research process including designing the experimental protocol, testing, and training the team he worked with. Once the team was ready, they ran approximately 20 trials of the experiment throughout the spring and summer of 2015.

Ben enjoyed seeing the experiment come to life and the way his research could have a practical use.

“It was really rewarding to see the work we were doing impact people and to know if the products worked,” he said. “I’m excited to have had the opportunity to be introduced to other professors and grad students. Now, I want to be more involved and do more research.”

Once Ben recognized his interest in research, he started thinking about how else he can get involved. He ran a Google search and found a variety of university-level programs students could get involved in to pursue research. He applied to several and is excited to say he’ll be going to the University of Minnesota and working in their Life Sciences Summer Undergraduate Research Program, a 10-week lab-based program where he’ll focus on cancer research.

Ben never would’ve found these opportunities if he didn’t step outside his comfort zone and take a chance on research. He encourages other students to be open to new experiences.

“I’d encourage anyone coming to Iowa State to have goals in mind but be flexible about how those goals can be accomplished,” he said. “You never know what opportunities may open up that will lead you down new and exciting paths.”