Go back

Gabrielle Rueff in Sundquist lab

Gabrielle Rueff

“I’ve found my identity here at APSU. I think college is a pivotal time in a young person’s life and the environment in which they develop is extremely important. Austin Peay has been amazing because it has allowed me to pursue my passion of science in a way that has been incredibly enjoyable.”
Major: Pre Med-Biology, minor in Pre-Professional Health
Hometown: Clarksville, Tennessee
Involvement: Tribeta, Pre-Professional Health Society

Getting real life experience while earning your degree is one of the biggest things employers look for. Austin Peay State University is known for their hands-on learning style, and interactive classroom settings. This is extremely evident for students participating in the Science Education Alliance-Phage Hunters Advancing Genomics and Evolutionary Science (SEA-PHAGES) program.

Last semester, Gabrielle Rueff and nine other upperclassmen, under the guidance of Biology Professor Sergei Markov, became APSU’s very own team of “Phage Hunters.” Gabrielle took a special interest in this program, and soon found she had a passion for SEA-PHAGES.

Gabrielle Rueff writes on Petri Dish in Sundquist lab
Rueff has spent the last few months working with SEA-PHAGES and maintaining a 4.0 GPA.

“It’s such an immersive experience in which students get the opportunity to isolate phages, which are simply viruses that infect bacteria. I think the trial and error laboratory methods are important for anyone interested in pursuing a career in medicine,” Rueff said.

Gabrielle took advantage of the opportunity to get real life experience, and said she found satisfaction in both the personal and professional aspects of her involvement in the exclusive program.

“My experience with SEA-PHAGES gave me valuable experience working in the lab.  The process as a whole was extremely gratifying because the phage I isolated was my own,” Rueff said. “I went outside, took soil samples, and I was able to image, sequence its genome, and identify that phage. It helped me learn to analyze any problems I faced and overcome those issues with critical thinking.”


Despite all of the challenges thrown her way, Gabrielle has taken full advantage of the resources offered by APSU and has maintained a 4.0 GPA along with winning biochemistry presenter at the fall 2019 research symposium for her research on CRISPR-cas9 genome modification.

Because of these experiences, Gabrielle never passes up the opportunity to brag about the professors and university that have already helped her both “find herself” and “pursue her passions.”

“The professors here at APSU are genuinely passionate about their subjects, and that makes learning here easy.  From my experiences, the classrooms feel less like a one-way lecture and more of a two-way conversation between students and professors. 

"This engagement encourages student interaction and all questions are welcomed. I believe this interaction is invaluable when it comes to learning.”