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PNC grad has sights on cancer cure

James 'J.D.' Ziegler Hebron.

James "J.D." Ziegler of Hebron.

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Updated: August 6, 2013 6:09AM



As a member of the Purdue University North Central class of 2013, James “J.D.” Ziegler of Hebron recently earned a bachelor’s degree in biology, with a minor in chemistry with a pre-med concentration.

Ziegler has carefully laid out his plans for the coming years. He will enter the University of Michigan master of science in cancer chemical biology program and then move on to medical school.

“I want to pursue cancer research to become an oncologist. I applied to the program to further my knowledge of cancer. Going into research will give me a better understanding of cancer so that I can become a successful oncologist and do the best I can for my patients.”

Ultimately he would like play a role in finding the cure for cancer.

“I see a cure for cancer in the next generation,” he continued. “I’ve seen many people with cancer; some have suffered, others have conquered. I want to help find that cure. I want to help end the suffering. I know there is a possibility.”

At PNC Ziegler established himself as a student leader. He always pursued rigorous courses, but made sure to enjoy his campus experience too.

“As a freshman, I did not want to get involved because grades were everything to me. As I became acclimated to the coursework, I felt a passion to get involved,” he explained. “As a sophomore, I joined Delta Sigma Science Club. I became president after one semester. I joined the Pre-Med Club. I became a tutor for the Student Success Center in biology, chemistry, mathematics and study skills. In my junior year, I joined the Dean’s Leadership Group; I became involved in the Panther News Network editing video. I served on the campus Community Standards board.”

He earned the campus Student Leadership Award, the AmeriCorps National Service Award scholarship; Chancellor’s Diversity Award and the Freshman Distinguished Award. He is a lifetime member of Beta Beta Beta Biology Honor Society and earned mention on the Chancellor’s and Semester Honors lists for seven semesters.

He did this while taking up to 21 credit hours a semester and working part time on campus and part time off campus.

“I didn’t have much downtime, but that made me excel. Time management is one of the most important things in life. Before each semester I made a weekly calendar of everything I did from hour to hour. My parents helped me and my girlfriend, Anneliese Kieper, has been there to get me through tough and stressful situations.”

Ziegler carries great memories of his years at PNC — the Delta Sigma Potlucks, science experiments, falling into the lake, playing Santa at the children’s parties, Student Government lock-ins, 7 a.m. meetings, being invited to the chancellor’s home on behalf of DLG and SGA, and “growing up with my biology family.”

“PNC helped me grow personally and professionally into my career choice. So many faculty and members helped me become the person I am today,” said Ziegler. He thanked them for taking time to talk to him, listen to his questions and help him find his own way in life. His professors, he said, “made me want to learn more.”

“At PNC I became well-rounded, a great leader and an excellent student. I have a high GPA and worked hard for it. I formed lasting relationships and connections. It is a privilege to be part of such a great school.”



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