Skip to main content
Jennifer Hand Castle

Jennifer (Hand) Castle

Graduating Year: 2012

Education: B.S. Chemistry, Biochemistry Track, Mathematical Sciences Minor, Biological Sciences Minor

Career: Currently a general surgery resident, a T32 post-doctoral research fellow at the University of Kentucky and pursuing a PhD in Clinical and Translational Science at UK  

"I have such a deep-rooted love for NKU. I had such a great relationship with all the professors and fellow students. The small classroom style is one of the things that attracted me to NKU in the first place and I still think is one of its greatest strengths. I never wanted to be just a face in the crowd and at NKU I wasn’t. It also created my foundation for scientific research. I think the experiences I had in the labs at NKU are what eventually brought me back to benchwork now. But what I learned at NKU has stayed with me in so many different facets. I still think about what I learned in speech class with Dr. Proctor when I give presentations today. Every time I present work, I flash back to my senior year class where we were taught how to present work and had it drilled into me that is always “our” work. Nothing is ever achieved by oneself. I teach that to my mentees today.  My husband and I still joke about our stats class with Dr. Buckley and the competitions we had there which established our relationship. I still play around on the piano after a few of us biology nerds decided it would be a fun class to take our senior year. This is a very long-winded way to say, NKU was an amazing place to study, and what you learn there creates cherished memories and an amazing foundation for whatever it is you want to achieve. If I could go back in time, I would choose NKU time and time again.     I made lifelong friends, met my husband, and got onto the right trajectory at NKU to get me where I am today. It is important to find someplace that encourages you, promotes you, and gives you avenues to where you want to be. NKU can do that while still maintaining a small, friendly environment. Quite simply, I love NKU.  "

"I graduated from NKU with a BS in biochemistry and minor in mathematics. I worked in product engineering and development for a couple years and then went to medical school at UK. I matched into general surgery residency at UK. It was during residency that I decided I wanted dedicated time to conduct research so after my third year of clinical residency I stepped out of clinical life to join a lab under a T32 post-doctoral research fellow grant.  It is in this time that I have been able to pursue a PhD and hope to successfully defend this semester. Ultimately, I have goals of becoming a surgical oncologist and hope the work I have done in and outside the lab will also allow me to be a proficient surgeon-scientist.  "

Erin Rowan

Erin Rowan

Graduating Year: 2012

Education: B.S. Chemistry, Mathematical Sciences minor

Career: Occupational Therapist

"The benefits of studying at NKU are the small class sizes, which allows the ”opportunity to make personal connections with professors and other students.  With small classes, you aren't just a number, you play an intricate role in contributing to the collective.  NKU provides mentoring opportunities, as well as educational programs, to help guide future professional endeavors. I am now teaching at NKU in the Doctor of Occupational Therapy Program and I love returning to my alma mater.”

Erin obtained her Occupational Therapy Doctorate from Spalding University in Louisville. She is now a licensed provider in Ohio and Kentucky, where she has been practicing for the last 4 years. Her clinical experiences include outpatient orthopedics, inpatient rehabilitation settings, skilled nursing, and acute care.

Sarah Kunkler

Sarah Kunkler

Graduating Year: 2018

Education: B.S. in Chemistry, Biological Sciences and Honors Minor

Career: Pharmacist at Kroger

I truly feel that NKU prepared me well for pharmacy school and know I have been well-prepared for any career path I may have chosen in the sciences. Going into pharmacy school, I felt better prepared than my classmates who attended other universities for their undergraduate coursework. In fact, my education prepared me so well that I was accepted into all the pharmacy schools I applied to, including the number one pharmacy school in the country at that time, and I graduated top of my class from the University of Cincinnati James L Winkle College of Pharmacy with PharmD in 2022. In addition to being excellent instructors, the professors at NKU were always accessible for any questions and were good mentors. Small class sizes coupled with caring faculty allowed me to make lasting connections with the professors.
Kalyn Koons

Kalyn Koons

Graduating Year: Spring 2024

Education: Chemistry major, Mathematics minor

Career: Interested in drug development

“I am studying chemistry because I am interested in future drug development. I want to pursue a PhD in organic synthesis, working towards the synthesis of complex compounds that may one day allow someone a better quality of life. I chose NKU because the class sizes are small enough to have consistent 1:1 communication with your professors. However, the university is large enough to provide resources for undergraduate research and a variety of free tutoring services.”

What they do: Currently a Supplemental Instruction leader for General Chemistry and Organic Chemistry.

Career path: Participated in the Freshman Research Scholars program and started doing research her first year at NKU.