Senior Thesis Spotlight: Julie Jesurum


Julie Jesurum ‘22 (Right) and Katie Carrier ‘22 (Left) work in Dr. Colleen T. O’Loughlin’s lab to complete their senior theses.

Fiona Cohen, Managing News Editor

This piece seeks to highlight a member of the senior class who is in the process of completing their senior theses in partial fulfillment of their graduation requirements. If there is anyone who you believe should be highlighted, please feel free to contact The Bates Student ([email protected]). 

Julie Jesurum ‘22—Biochemistry Major

Porcupines are Jesurum’s favorite type of animal. Unfortunately, as an aspiring veterinarian, she will most likely never have the chance to treat one. Porcupines cannot be kept as pets in most states in the U.S. This is just one of the many interesting facts that The Student learned while interviewing the second-semester senior.

Jesurum has wanted to be a veterinarian for a long time now. Writing her thesis has allowed her to explore working in a wet lab, developing skills that she hopes to use in veterinary school. 

Over the summer, she worked in a lab with Dr. Colleen T. O’Loughlin who is now her thesis advisor. They grew skin bacteria, Staph Epidermidis, in a variety of different environments to see how the bacteria would respond to a set of certain conditions. Now, Jesurum is studying one specific strain of Staph Epidermidis for her Biochemistry thesis.

“It’s been really fun, and it’s given me a great love of the research process,” she said. “I know that I want to do research when I go to vet school in the future.”

Still, the process has not always been easy. “Being a scientist is failing 95% of the time,” she said, “But it’s not failure. You have to see that your failures take you to a place of discovery.” Like many seniors, Jesurum feels like there is a set of negative stereotypes that accompany writing a thesis. It hasn’t been nearly as tiring and frustrating as past seniors have made it out to be. Jesurum feels that the whole process has been made more pleasant by her advisor, Dr. O’Loughlin, and her lab-mate Katie Carrier ‘22. Carrier is working on the same project as Jesurum.

Jesurum’s thesis has occupied a lot of her time. Still, she is taking four and a half credits. 

“I pushed myself super hard during sophomore year to get as many of my major requirements and prerequisites for vet school in,” she said.

Being incredibly busy can be discouraging, but Jesurum’s goals for the future have helped her manage stress. 

“As of now, I would love being a vet,” she said, “Thinking about going to vet school, doing research there, volunteering, and getting to know animals is everything that I want to do with my future.”