Elon, North Carolina|Thursday, January 26, 2017
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More Than Just Research 

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For the last two years, Senior Erica Schenhals has been doing scientific research on breast cancer cells, watching them bond and double in quantity.

“It’s $450 dollars to buy those cells so you get a million cells for that much,” she said.

Her Lumen Prize research grant financially supported her research on alternative treatments to battle breast cancer. She keeps the cells in an incubator at body temperature.

“I love what I do and I love being in there,” she said.

The long hours of being in the lab has its rewards and frustrations. Schenhals tries her hardest to keep emotions out of the room. That’s the hard part.

Her inspiration for the research comes from her aunt, whose been battling breast cancer for more than 15 years.

“I was too young to understand at the time and it really didn’t make sense,” Schenhals said.

Her curiosity turned into a desire to find answers for the woman she shares a middle name with, and the million others suffering from the disease. Her aunt has a few words of encouragement.

“She said if me getting cancer was just so you would find your passion and be so happy with what you’re doing, then its been worth it,” Schenhals said.

That’s what motivates her - the close bond she has with her aunt, like two cells found under a microscope.