Payton Spran FSU Profile Red Shirt

Meet Payton Spran: A Look Into Life From a Rising Researcher

Payton Spran is a sophomore in the Florida State University honors college hoping to one day make a difference with her voice and one act of kindness at a time. During these uncertain times, there is one certain thing that Payton knows is true: that the beauty in life lies in helping others.

Her Campus (HC): So Payton, thank you so much for taking the time to talk to us during your busy schedule. Why don’t we begin with you giving a little introduction about yourself?

Payton Spran (PS): Hi! Thank you so much for wanting to interview me. Well, I am originally from Coral Springs, Florida. I am currently a Biology major with minors in Chemistry and Psychology.

HC: How did you first get involved with research at FSU?

PS: I first emailed a bunch of labs in the Biology department. I would send them letters of interest explaining how I was interested in their specific research topic and how I could benefit and help out in the lab. I also attached my resume so they could get a little more of an idea of my work ethic and experience. I actually got some labs to respond to me, but the lab that I now work at reached out and set up an interview with me. And well I guess the rest is history from there. 

two test tubes in blue holder Photo by Martin Lopez from Pexels

HC: What specific type of research are you currently helping out with?

PS: In the lab I am working at, we are running experiments revolving around the Dengue and Zika viruses. We are specifically trying to find the mechanisms in how these viruses work and how they impact humans. Both of these viruses are mosquito-borne and found in the same geographical location, but they behave very differently. I am working under a Ph.D. student, Angelica Medina. She is studying how Zika and Dengue virus transmits through the blood-brain barrier and affect unborn fetuses.

HC: Do you want to continue to do research throughout both undergraduate and potentially graduate school?

PS: I am hoping to stay actively involved in research. For now, I have committed a year to this current lab. I am hoping to continue to do research with this lab for the rest of my time in undergrad. I hope that there is nothing that prevents me from doing that. After I am trained, I will be able to choose a topic of interest and do my own research on it. As for graduate school, I am not quite sure if I want to continue research. I have looked into being a physician-scientist where I can devote my time to do research that interests me in addition to being a physician. I still haven’t decided if I am going to pursue this but I do know that research is something I will hold close to me. 

Photo by Hush Naidoo on Unsplash

HC: How do you feel like this exposure to research is helping you get closer to your career goals?

PS: I think research is extremely important in helping to grow interpersonal and team skills. I am learning the value of having a strong work ethic and being able to communicate my ideas and opinions. Research is helping me see the science behind medicine. I do wish to pursue a career in medicine and this experience is helping me notice that there is more to medicine than interacting with patients. I am learning that there is a lot of Biology and Chemistry behind the different treatments and procedures used on patients.

HC: You mentioned you want to pursue a career in medicine, what made you want to do this?

PS: There are two main factors that led me to this decision. The first being the fact that in medicine there is a huge emphasis on helping people. I want to be able to give back to those in underserved communities. I grew up with a lot of privilege so I want to use my voice and education to give back to those that need it. So not only do I love the people interaction and being able to give back to communities, but I love the science behind it. I love that medicine can intersect two big parts of my life.

HC: So I know you are also in MRU. What is MRU?

PS: Alright, put your seatbelts on. So MRU is the voluntary medical response unit at Florida State. We work with FSUPD and 911 to help address emergent medical situations on campus (football games, Dance Marathon, in dorms, etc.) We help treat minor injuries and transfer care to EMT and other professionals as well as give back to the FSU community. It is a great program and if you are interested just reach out and we are more than happy to talk to you about the different opportunities we offer.

Florida State University's Westcott building Jackson Meyers HC: You seem to have found a home at FSU and taken advantage of your time here. What tips do you have for anyone looking to get involved with the opportunities FSU has?

PS: If you are interested in something, do not hesitate to reach out. It can be very intimidating to get your foot through the door, but just don’t hesitate. I think it is better to try than to never try at all.

HC: What advice do you have for future Noles?

PS: I say that even though things are stressful and uncertain with the pandemic, never give up. Never give up on your dreams and goals. Never stop believing in yourself and having confidence in your abilities. College can be very intimidating and can get lonely, but you are going to do great things. You are going to be great with what you have and I hope you have a great college experience. Welcome to the family!

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