Science, service and scholarship

Abbey Murcek stands in front of Adelbert Hall wearing glasses and a blue sweater

When Abbey Murcek was in high school in Pittsburgh, her robotics team worked with a special education teacher to create low-cost adaptive devices for students with disabilities. She loved applying newfound knowledge in a way that helped others, and sought to continue such enriching experiences in her college career.

Today, Murcek is a third-year chemistry major at Case Western Reserve University doing exactly that in a genetics lab at the School of Medicine, where she helps determine how molecules in therapy drugs bind with proteins in various cancer cells.

“Everyone has been super welcoming,” she said. “[The faculty and graduate students] help me not only develop and learn new research techniques, but understand the theory behind what we’re doing.”

Murcek hopes to continue working in genetics as a physician and researcher. 

“I really like getting into the fundamentals of why something works,” she said, “and I appreciate how chemistry can be applied to a variety of medical research.”

Murcek is also minoring in Chinese—a passion she developed in middle school.

“Knowing at least one second language is a useful tool in communicating with patients,” she said, “and CWRU makes it easy to explore a variety of interests outside of your major.”

The financial flexibility provided by donor support has allowed Murcek to immerse herself in student life on campus to get the full Case Western Reserve experience. Beyond her coursework, she is active in a faith-based student organization, Cru, as well as Case for Life and CWRU Archery Club. And none of this would be possible, she said, without her scholarship.

“The scholarship I received has allowed me to go to Case Western Reserve with less financial stress, which has been incredibly impactful,” said Murcek. “I’ve met others who are also driven to create change and help people.”