Macey Scholar 2011-2012
A graduate of Aztec High School, Snyder has held several jobs on campus, is now on a research team, plays on the women’s volleyball team and volunteers through the campus chapter of Beta Beta Beta, the biology honor society.
Unlike many future Tech students, Snyder had never heard of the university until she received a recruiting postcard during senior year of high school. Because of that mailing, she visited Tech during Exploration Day and became sold on the Biology Department, the faculty and the small-town feel.
“I am profoundly thankful to have received that little postcard three years ago,” she said.
Snyder is currently working on two biology research projects with Dr. Tom Kieft and Dr. Kevin Kirk. With Kieft, she is studying micro-organisms that live in extreme deep-Earth environments. Snyder is characterizing the genetic materials of organisms that live without oxygen or sunlight.
“We’re discovering new organisms from the deep subsurface,” she said. “I really enjoy research because it involved molecular techniques combined with microbiology and we’ve had some interesting findings.”
With Dr. Kirk, Snyder is doing evolutionary ecology work on one particular plant and its various strains. She is conducting exploratory experiments regarding the plant’s growth and reproductive cycle.
Both Kirk and Kieft wrote glowing nomination letters supporting Snyder as a Macey Scholar. Both said that Snyder is among the best undergraduate students they’ve taught in 20 years. They also both credited her with displaying leadership skills in the lab and in the classroom.
“Lindsay is extremely bright,” Kirk wrote. “She is very good at finding the key questions that need to be answered and the crucial experiments that need to be conducted.”
Kieft said Snyder is unique among top performing students, in that she cares more about learning and doing research than simply maintaining a high GPA (which she also does).
“She is the best straight-A student I’ve had work in my lab in 20 years,” Kieft wrote. “She systematically solves problems and overall has shown true commitment to the project.”
Snyder’s main extracurricular activity has been volleyball, which she has played since seventh grade. She is now the president of the Women’s Volleyball Club and helps some teammates with tutoring. In 2010, she was runner-up for Sportswoman of the Year at Tech.
Associate Vice President Dr. Scott Zeman, who also serves as volleyball coach, nominated Snyder for her academic prowess, athletic involvement, community service and range of talents.
“Lindsay exemplifies the ideal of the ‘student athlete’,” Zeman wrote. “Lindsay has bhe keen analytical mind of a science student, coupled with the communication skills and breadth of interests of a liberal arts student.”
Snyder intends to pursue a master’s degree and launch a career that includes both field work and laboratory research. She said her New Mexico Tech experience has prepared her extremely well for life after college.
“I have met some of the greatest people at this institution and made friends that I believe will last a lifetime,” she said. “I believe that the many opportunities provided to me here will grant me the best possible base to further my knowledge and skills in the future.”
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By Thomas Guengerich/New Mexico Tech