Mark Boerneke

Chemistry and International Development Studies, Class of 2011

Mark Boerneke Headshot

What have you been up to since graduation?

After graduating, I spent the summer in Ghana as an intern for Edify and Omega Schools in low-cost private schools for poor families. Here I taught middle school science and English classes, developed science curriculum that included interactive experiments and demonstrations, and trained teachers and staff at several schools. Beginning in fall 2011 and continuing to the present (2016), I attend the University of California, San Diego working on a Ph.D. in chemistry. My thesis research focuses on understanding functional noncoding RNAs in viruses and infectious diseases and their implications for therapeutics and vaccine development. I also teach a variety of chemistry courses for UC San Diego undergraduates, as well a teaching assistant training course for chemistry graduate students. I plan to continue in research and teaching in a university setting after receiving my Ph.D.

How has the Center for International Development helped you in achieving your goals?

I came into PLNU with interests in science and international development, and not being sure how exactly to meld the two, I picked a major in both those fields (chemistry, international development studies). In my first year, I met Professor Rob Gailey and got connected working in the Center for International Development. Over the next few years, with the helpful guidance of Rob and the CID, I was able to gain a variety of valuable international development experiences, including local conferences and a local microfinance internship with Accion San Diego, as well as international volunteer experiences with Lazarian World Homes in Mexico and Armenia, Veritas in Romania, and Edify in Ghana. Through these experiences, I gained a new understanding about poverty alleviation and the challenges poor families face across the globe. I am grateful for Rob’s and the CID’s mentorship and direction as I grew during these years. I am also thankful for their continued support as I seek to use my expertise in science, education, and biomedical research to help alleviate poverty, locally and internationally.

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The Viewpoint

PLNU's university publication, the Viewpoint, seeks to contribute relevant and vital stories that grapple with life's profound questions from a uniquely Christian perspective. Through features, profiles, and news updates, the Viewpoint highlights stories of university alumni, staff, faculty, and students who are pursuing who they are called to be.