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Life’s 'Fascinating Secrets'

Kathryn "Kaylee" Mueller '16 (standing) performs during the 2014 dance concert, "Vox, Velocity and Vectors." Photo by Carl Socolow '77.

Kathryn "Kaylee" Mueller '16 (standing) performs during the 2014 dance concert, "Vox, Velocity and Vectors." Photo by Pierce Bounds '71.

Kathryn “Kaylee” Mueller ’16

With interests that range from science to Greek mythology to the arts, it wasn’t easy for Kathryn “Kaylee” Mueller ’16 to pinpoint a major, but after taking courses in genetics and evolution, she knew she had found her calling. Learn why she's glad she can explore both science and the performing arts, her greatest influence and ideal dining partners and how she hopes to save the world. 

Clubs and organizations:


The Mermaid Players, the Dance Theater Group and Dickinson Science Magazine.

Favorite books:

Frankenstein (Mary Shelley), the Divergent series (Veronica Roth) and The Giver (Lois Lowry).

Favorite movie:

Silver Linings Playbook.

On choosing a major:

I have always been interested in science, especially biology and astronomy, but I wasn't sure that I wanted to major in biology until I took classes in genetics and evolution. Those classes made me see that life holds so many fascinating secrets, and I want to discover more. I want to understand what life is all about.

On choosing Dickinson:

In addition to science, I enjoy acting, dancing, painting, Greek mythology and German history. Dickinson allows me to further investigate all my passions.


Kaylee in Germany, where she traveled last summer.

Kaylee in Germany, where she traveled last summer.


Favorite place on campus:


The telescope and the planetarium (Tome Scientific Building).

As a kid, I wanted to be …

… an astronaut, a doctor and an actress. All at the same time.

Favorite professors:

All of the professors I have had at Dickinson are passionate about what they teach, and they make learning fun. Professor [of Chemistry Michael] Holden made my Organic Chemistry class engaging, [Assistant Professor of Biology Dana] Wohlbach and [Associate Professor of Biology Scott] Boback beautifully communicated very complex biological processes, and [Assistant Professor of History Emily] Pawley made American History fun by debunking the “history” we were taught in elementary school. 

Favorite Dining Hall food:

Grilled cheese and tomato soup.

If I could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, it would be …

… J.R.R. Tolkien, Shakespeare or the Brothers Grimm.

Biggest influence:

My little sister, Lisi Mueller ’18. She shows me how to love unconditionally, and she taught me never to give up when things get tough. She is my rock, and I’m so happy that I get to go to Dickinson with her!

In a perfect world …

… there would be more than 24 hours in a day.

On the value of the liberal arts:

Every day people die from deadly diseases and hunger, and right now our planet faces many environmental problems. I have seen how biology and science can help save lives and save the world, and I want to be a part of that movement. To solve these problems, people must think outside the box, be creative and “connect the dots.” I truly believe my Dickinson liberal-arts education is preparing me to do such things.

About my internship:

I worked in the communications department at the international headquarters for the Biotechnology Industry Organization (BIO), the largest trade association for biotechnology companies. I have always loved talking about science, so I knew that the communications department [would be a good fit]. The CEO of BIO is a Dickinson alumnus, former Congressman Jim Greenwood ’73.

What I learned there:

I learned that just because I’m a science major doesn’t mean that I can only work in a lab. A wide array of professional jobs help propel the biotechnology industry. My internship also allowed me to learn more about legislation involving biotechnology, the media, pharmaceuticals, food and agriculture biotechnology and industrial biotechnology. Most importantly, I learned that I am happy with my biology major, and I am proud of my liberal-arts education.

Proudest accomplishment:

Traveling to Germany all by myself, with money I earned through my summer internship!

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Published January 29, 2015