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Inga Baldus

Hometown: Oregon, Wisconsin
Major: Genetics
Minor: Spanish

Why did you choose Iowa State University?

I knew I wanted to major in genetics and after looking into the genetics program at Iowa State I realized the endless opportunities that are offered in the genetics field.

How did you become interested in your major (and minor)?

I became interested in genetics at a very young age because my mother worked in a genetics lab when I was a child. Occasionally, she would take me to work with her, where I first learned about the importance of genetics research. I wanted to follow in my mother's footsteps by continuing my education in genetics. I also chose to minor in Spanish because I have taken Spanish courses since first grade. A Spanish minor allowed me to further develop my communication skills.           

What are your current goals following graduation?

I will be attending Indiana University School of Optometry in the fall of 2024. I am expected to graduate in the spring of 2028.     


Campus Involvement: I have been involved in various clubs during my time at Iowa State. I was the Spanish Club treasurer for one year and then the Spanish Club president for one year. As well as the Optometry Outreach Chair in the Iowa State Pre-Health club for two years. I also work as a physics tutor through the Academic Success Center. My leadership roles at Iowa State have greatly improved my communication and problem-solving skills.

Research experiences: I began working in Espin Lab with Dr. Raquel Espin Palazon at the beginning of my sophomore year. My research focuses on identifying the cellular and molecular mechanisms in myeloid cell development and differentiation. My involvement in laboratory work not only improved my understanding of genetics but also enhanced my personal and professional skills.

Internships: During the summer of 2021, I worked as a caregiver performing non-medical home care services to elderly/disabled patients. During the summer of 2023, I was a GDCB Summer Undergraduate Research Intern at Espin Lab. My responsibilities included laboratory work with the overall goal of improving human health by advancing regenerative medicine to treat blood disorders. These work/internship experiences ultimately led me to gain an interest in applying research to patient care.

Study Abroad: In the summer of 2022, I participated in the ISU on the Mediterranean: Summer in Valencia, Spain program. I lived with a host family in Valencia, Spain, where I attended classes at Universidad de Valencia. The part of the trip that I enjoyed was fully immersing myself in the culture by traveling around the country with fellow ISU students.

What are a few things you love about your major and department?

The GDCB department offers endless opportunities for students to develop their professional skills. The genetics professors are always willing to help students in any way possible, whether it be with course material, lab work, or establishing future career goals.

How would you fill in the blank for high school students interested in your field?

“You’re going to love studying the sciences at Iowa State because ….” will gain a profound knowledge of the sciences and be exposed to unlimited opportunities to enhance your skills in all areas.

Do you have an example of how a professor or staff member has supported you at Iowa State?

Dr. Raquel Espin Palazon has greatly aided me throughout my time at Iowa State. I emailed her asking if she had an opening in her lab, and within minutes, she responded. Since I started working in her lab 2.5 years ago, she has helped me strengthen my professional skills and overall understanding of genetics. She has supported me through my undergraduate years with my decision to become an optometrist and has provided me with many resources to make my career goals possible.      

Last comments:

My best advice for new students is... to become involved with anything that interests you, whether it relates to your major or not. Iowa State provides an excellent environment for promoting well-rounded students by offering many clubs and activities. Fully involving yourself in campus activities can lead to personal and professional growth.